Weeknote: 16 to 20 August 2021

Grass in front of sea wall with rocks and waves behind. In the distance two small stone buildings and a harbour wall
Back to work after two weeks by the sea

What inspired me this week?

I enjoyed getting back to work rested and refreshed after a two-week holiday. I came back determined to notice the progress colleagues are making and assume good intent even when I see behaviour that doesn’t make sense to me.

One piece of work I was involved in before I went away had come on leaps and bounds in my absence, and I’m excited to see what happens next with it. Several other initiatives seem to be reaching a point where there are initial conclusions and pointers to substantial next steps. I’m encouraging teams to work in the open on these, and share their early work, even if at first it feel scary to do so.

How did I uphold the NHS Constitution?

“The patient will be at the heart of everything the NHS does”

NHS Constitution for England

I mentioned the NHS Constitution and NHS design principles in a Twitter response to Helen Bevan’s “Improvement Method Olympics”. As an advocate of human-centred design process and professionalisation of service design in health, I was heartened by the enthusiasm shown for a couple of human-centred methods that have made their way into the healthcare quality improvement toolset. While the ultimate winner was the familiar lean PDSA loop, I think the polls showed an encouraging turn towards user-centricity and patient involvement. I’ll be watching that with interest.

What connections did I make?

I had a fascinating call with a clinician from a primary care provider who shared his experiences of working across urgent care. I was able to connect him with a colleague because we are always looking to bring new perspectives to our work on digital for urgent and emergency care.

For the first time since starting in NHSX at the end of March, I met some of my colleagues in person! The occasion was a happy and sad one – a leaving changing jobs do for Diane who is moving to lead a new team in another part of NHSX. It won’t be the same without her. Many of our team have joined since the start of the pandemic so had been working together on a daily basis for months already, but never actually met face-to-face until this week. It was lovely to meet people and see us together as a team.

What do I need to take care of?

Just before I went on leave, I asked colleagues for feedback on my performance in my new role. One senior leader kindly expanded on his feedback in a Teams call this week. His feedback reminded me to pay attention to the effect of my interventions in meetings. What are we trying to achieve as a group, and will each contribution open up possibilities or close them down?

How many days did I get some exercise?

4 days out of 5 I got out for a short bike ride before starting work. I’ll try to keep this up, although I’ve always been a fair weather cyclist so might not make it all the way through winter.

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