Weeknote: 6 to 10 February 2023

View from office through a square plate glass window. Two seagulls are perched on the outside window ledge. Across the road is a circa 10 storey office block with square windows in a post-modern style resembling an art deco warehouse
View from the office at Canary Wharf

Connecting our service

I spent some time this week trying to make sure teams were talking to each other about various strands of activity that are running in parallel across digital urgent and emergency care. They’re all coming at different aspects of the same problem from different angles, and while each has a separate rationale and set of senior sponsors, they’ll only achieve their intended outcomes if they’re joined up from the outset. This is no time for siloed working.

I also had two calls with senior leaders about how we join up digital delivery with policy and strategy across our whole portfolio. We want to make it easy for colleagues in the other parts of the new NHS England to access digital expertise across a wide range of topics, but the scope is vast and the thought leadership spread across several teams, none of which has the whole picture in isolation. We didn’t get quite as far as I’d hoped to finding a solution, but agreed to do some more work on this and regroup in a couple of weeks.

Leading with care

I thought a lot about this element of the healthcare leadership model as we took the next step in a staff reorganisation this week by releasing information about the planned changes for collective consultation. The change for the Product area, of which my team is part, has to fit into the context of the wider Transformation Directorate, which in turn falls under the overall “creating the new NHS England” initiative.

Having spent several months working closely with leaders across our own area, this was the first time it was all pulled together into a massive single proposal spanning the whole directorate. That meant a lot of detail for staff to take in, but very little time for leaders to understand the overall picture and help them interpret it. I’m also mindful that the consultation document was released just as many colleagues were about to go off on half term holidays. Some of them will doubtless now spend a week carrying extra stress which could have been avoided if we’d had more time to take a careful approach to the detail and the messaging.

The big picture is that we still don’t have enough of the key digital skillsets we need to deliver our vision for patients and frontline staff. While the overall organisaton will be smaller, we need to retain our existing talent, and offer opportunities for people to come with us to a different way of working under the banner we call the “product mindset”. Helping colleagues to understand that, and to make informed decisions about their future roles, is going to be a big part of my work for the next few weeks.

Developing capability

In between consultation meetings, I was on an interview panel for a senior role that we are recruiting to the Product leadership team. This is a key hire that has been a long time coming, and I was impressed by the rigour behind the search and recruitment process leading up to this round of interviews.


Outside work, I took the opportunity of working in London for a couple of days to visit my mum and dad. And on Saturday I helped my oldest son move house ahead of starting his first job since graduating. Hoping it all goes well for him next week.

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