Weeknote: 2 to 5 May 2023


Two new build office blocks with a pedestrian boulevard between them. In the foreground, a path flanked by small trees is painted in a colourful zig-zag pattern
View from the old railway viaduct. Our office is the one on the right

What did I enjoy?

The Leeds hub for the new NHS England is starting to get busier, and chance conversations with colleagues are getting more frequent.

I managed to cycle in on 3 out of the 4 working days, but got the bus on Friday when it was raining. I’m only a fair weather cyclist!

We spent a lot of time this week going through the outcomes of the collective consultation phase on the reorganisation. We are making some changes based on the feedback people gave us, and that now has to go back through central governance before we can share the conclusions with everyone.

I was pleased to support colleagues from my team who are applying for a leadership programme. It’s a competitive programme, but I know that if they’re selected they’ll put a lot in and get a lot out of the opportunity.

And this week I was able to look up and outwards a bit, having one to ones with senior colleagues, and meeting for coffee with a user-centred design agency leader who is doing work with some national and local NHS organisations.

What was hard?

A colleague sent me a video of a conference talk by a parent whose child died of sepsis, despite having contacted health professionals several times in the weeks leading up to his death. It’s a hard watch, but an important one for anyone working to join up care so that vital opportunities to save a life or avoid harm in future are not missed.

That rather put into perspective this week’s frustrations about business processes following our organisational merger. Approvals are still going to the wire, and in one case this week beyond the wire, meaning work on one of our products is now delayed because of a bureacratic process. This is incredibly frustrating for all involved, and cannot be allowed to become the norm in our new organisation, however people might have done things in the legacy organisations we have come from.

What did I learn?

Over the past few weeks I’ve been not-so-subtly lobbying to take on a piece of work that will span multiple teams. It needs doing, and I believe we’re the right people to take it on, but I’m also in no doubt that it will take some focused attention to do it justice.

I was reminded of a phrase I heard once about Microsoft internal politics: “cookie licking” when a kid licks a cookie to make it unappealing to anyone else, even though they’re not going to eat it right now. I have licked the cookie of this particular task. Now I have to eat it!

What do I need to take care of?

We’re making changes to our team structures and our governance for Digital Urgent and Emergency Care. I need to pay attention over the coming weeks to how the changes are bedding in, and be open to changing tack if things are not working out the way we intended.  

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