NHS Change Day is a movement that started after a Twitter discussion in November 2012 amongst a few NHS employees. It encourages individuals and teams to overcome hierarchical constraints and change the way the NHS operates. Leadership of change is driven by those outside the upper echelons.
The 2013 event was highly successful with 189,000 pledges made. I attended the kick-off event for 2014 on November 6th and there were some truly inspirational stories about the changes that have been made, ranging from student nurses being driven to work for the NHS after the care a family member received all the way up to the CEO pledging to train to become a ‘Dementia Friend’ to help him on professional and personal levels.
The simplest and most common pledge was to smile at patients or families. It might seem trivial but someone recounted how when they were once in a hospital with their child a nurse walked past and gave a great big smile. It made them feel like they mattered and they knew they were in safe hands.
There were many things I took away from the event but here are my top 3:
- There are a lot of people working in the NHS who passionately care about the service they deliver.
A lot of recent headlines surrounding the NHS may have been negative but I went away feeling humbled by the dedication of so many to helping others. The NHS faces significant challenges but the people at the heart of it, its employees, understand this and are willing to change. In fact they are doing a damn good job in leading change.
- We are all stakeholders in the NHS and can and help shape its future.
One of our pledges is to promote Change Day beyond the NHS so organisations and individuals can also aid change. We are proud to have been one of the first non-NHS organisations to have played a part in the inaugural event that went on to win a highly sought after Leaders Everywhere award from Harvard Business Review / Mckinseys and we encourage you to get involved as well.
- Engagement and listening are crucial for all organisations.
Without doing this we can’t shape our products or services to what our customers, or in this case patients, need and want. What can’t be forgotten is harnessing the creativity of employees. They are a crucial stakeholder and need to be on-board with any change programme. Indeed, empowering them and getting them to lead will deliver stronger results, improved morale and is more likely to lead to cultural change.
We have a long association of helping NHS bodies understand and improve service delivery/ patient experience. We love shaping programmes that make a difference but Change Day gives us the chance to get directly involved and has energised our approach to the sector. Let it do the same for you, http://changeday.nhs.uk/home.