First impressions

I have just started working at Imperial College Health Partners (ICHP) as Head of Project Development. Previously, I have worked as a management consultant working with acute NHS trusts.

Immediately the translational role of Academic Health Science Networks (AHSNs) appealed to me, and the opportunity to promote innovation and change ‘from within’ rather than as a consultant was what excited me about the job. In spite of my preparedness, I have been struck by both the opportunity and challenge that this position creates.

We are in a privileged position to be able to work on innovation, bringing exciting research, developments and learnings to the NHS that could make a step change to patient outcomes. This contrasts with a consultancy role, where the majority of work focused on driving efficiency. It strikes me however, that within this space it is challenging to create the urgency to deliver solutions in an effective way that provides value for money.

Further, it is exciting to be developing and delivering best practice in an area with such a clear need as for example mental health, however, the plethora of organisations in the complicated UK health landscape makes it an environment that requires truly collaborative working to avoid duplication, and minimise the risk of waste – the enemy of a squeezed NHS.

The strength that ICHP (and I am sure other AHSNs) have, is in having an enthused staff full of energy for change, I am excited to have become a part of such a group of people.

The risk that we run is that in working within an NHS with its weighty governance, endless meetings and burdensome processes, is that we follow suit, and quell the creativity inherent in a young organisation without the challenged history of some of our colleagues. My goals for the coming year therefore are:

  1. Create urgency – deliver
  2. Work collaboratively – avoid waste
  3. Maintain staff happiness – stay creative
  4. Role model with less process – work smarter