Weeknote: 8 to 12 August 2022

Arched gateway through a building with off-centre window above
A snap from our family holiday in Avignon – classical symmetry disrupted!

Back to work after a week-long holiday in the south of France. We discovered some of the fascinating history of Avignon, and I made a small dent in my backlog of books on my e-reader. I especially enjoyed:

Monday

After the NHS England Digital Urgent and Emergency Care team Monday check-in, I had a catch-up call with Jacqui, my deputy and clinical lead. Top of the agenda was the incident with one of the NHS’s software systems suppliers which affected 111 and other vital services. I won’t write about that here, except to say that it has been a big part of my week.

In the afternoon, I got an update on the patient experience work that Brin is leading on, and then joined a workshop with some user-centred design colleagues.

Tuesday

My first visit to NHS Digital’s new office at Canary Wharf, and a first chance to try out London’s shiny new Elizabeth Line. I spent time in the afternoon with NHS Digital colleagues discussing how we work more closely together, in advance of our organisations formally merging in 2023.

Wednesday

A difficult budget decision had to be made. We’re cutting funding for a piece of work that was just getting going. It’s not where any of us wanted to be, but I was impressed by the mature and professional way that the team took the news.

I caught up with a colleague working on remote monitoring, which helps to keep patients safely at home instead of being in hospital, and with a digital leader from one of our 111 service providers.

Thursday

Along with a group of digital profession leads from NHS England and NHS Digital, I heard from colleagues who are working on national NHS job descriptions for the Digital, Data, and Technology (DDaT) job families. It’s an important and complicated piece of work.

Also a last senior leadership team meeting with Simon, who has been my line manager, and head of the Digital Policy Unit, for the past few months. I’m going to miss his clear and caring approach to leading teams.

Friday

The first in a series of workshop sessions for the digital enablers workstream of the new Urgent and Emergency Care strategy. This one was focused on better use of data. When we see services under pressure right now, it can be hard to spend time thinking about the more distant future, but if we don’t we’ll never make things sustainably better.

What am I learning?

Usually when I write my weeknotes as a march through the days it’s a sign that there’s a lot going on, and I haven’t yet had a chance to step back and extract what I’m learning. That was definitely true this week. Note to self, that I need to create the space and time for a little more reflection next week, for myself, and for my colleagues.

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