Weeknote: 28 June to 2 July 2021

Red brick, red tile-roofed 16th Century palace with garden including box hedges, grasses and flowers
The Old Palace at Hatfield House

A 4-day working week because I took Wednesday off to help my oldest son move between student houses. He and his housemates left their old house cleaner than they found the new one!

How am I focusing delivery to support system outcomes?

I joined my first Urgent and Emergency Care Recovery Oversight Group meeting. We’ll be reporting relevant digital delivery to this forum on a regular basis, to make sure that what we do in digital is connected to the evolving needs of the system as a whole. This time I mainly listened in and asked for feedback on the format of our report. Thanks to Vicki for working with Barbara from the policy team on the first version of the report that went in this week. Over the past few weeks, several team members have been collaborating to clarify and sharpen the descriptions and definitions of our work. I could see that starting to pay off in this report.

Vicki, Jacqui and I grabbed some precious time with Digital Transformation directorate colleagues Zuz and Caroline to look at how we integrate the 3 objectives I mentioned in last week’s note into a set of objectives and key results (OKRs) for the directorate as a whole. We agreed to start with one of the 3, leaving the others open for a little longer while we get used to working with OKRs and understand what needs to be done.

How am I working towards a patient-centred, learning healthcare system?

I had a call with team members from a service design agency to brief them on a piece of work to understand what services we really deliver. Borrowing from Tero’s great blog post, a whole service is “everything the user needs to do to achieve a goal, including non-transactional things, such as research and choosing how to achieve their goal.” I’m also hoping we’ll be able to kill some confusing acronyms. There will be less space for ambiguity if we name our services in active language that users can understand, following the principle that “good services are verbs”.

How am I growing the capability for user-centred digital transformation?

I helped review applications for a role in another NHSX team. Having been involved in a couple of recruitment activies since I joined NHSX, I’m starting to form a view of some things that might help applicants do better, especially people applying from outside the NHS and public sector.

I had a few catch-ups with people who have long experience of delivering in the urgent and emergency care technology space. All these helped me to understand why things are the way they are, and how we might work together to grow collective capacity to make both short term and long term changes in response to the evolving needs of the system. It can’t be a constant trade-off between short-term needs and long-term transformation. We need to create the capacity to do both at the same time, and for one to reinforce the other.

How did I uphold the NHS Constitution?

“The NHS works across organisational boundaries”

NHS Constitution for England

In a conversation about our “tier 1” deliverables, I made the point that we need to be confident about taking on shared deliverables across NHS organisations, to achieve things that no one organisation can deliver on its own. That takes trust and mutual respect which are hard to grow and easily killed off by transactional project and programme management approaches.

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