13 February 2017 CEO Blog post

Operational Excellence

Last Monday was my birthday. I spent the day with senior NHS and local authority colleagues from across Shropshire talking about our health and care system. Not a usual way to celebrate the passing of another year, but it made me think about this time last year. I had just been announced as the new Chief Executive here and was beginning to plan how I was going to start my job on the 1 April. 
How a year goes by. I feel like I have never worked anywhere else (in a good way!).
Over the last few weeks we have been recruiting new consultants. I have been part of several interviews – a chance to hear from doctors often at the start of their senior careers, keen to please and make a good impression – just like I was a year ago. 
Many of them get asked to do a standard presentation……invited to comment on how they would make us more efficient and a better hospital. I have heard the same pitch many times, some analysis of the national finances, the NHS efficiency work, some comments on the ways we work, etc etc. Let’s call it the ‘WHAT’. 
What I haven’t seen any of them do is be brave enough to think about the “HOW”.
This reminds me of one of my favourite quotes, “Change does not roll in the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle.” (Martin Luther King Jr.)
In my mind the ‘HOW’ is the thing we are focussed on here. If we listen to our clinicians, our staff and especially our patients we can clearly see the things we need to improve. We know the ‘WHAT’. The hard bit is the ‘HOW’. As Martin Luther King describes we have to keep at it, keep trying, and keep refocussing. 
That is why a major part of our operational plan is ‘operational excellence’. We are trying to make our processes better, our systems better. Sounds easy? Well of course it is. Except......many of us think our way is the best. It is everyone else that has to change. So there is the challenge. 
I said to the Chief Executives in the room last Monday that none of the services any of us run in the county can be an island in a sea of failure. Surely the same applies within our hospital?
This does not mean everything is broken here or everything is bad - far from it. Have a look around you. Could we learn from each other and reduce our rework? Does someone else have a better way of doing things than you? 
My bet is that everyone has a better way of spending their birthday. 


Mark Brandreth
Chief Executive


Image of Mark Brandreth, Chief Executive

Do you have any thoughts or comments on this blog entry?

If so, please send to rjah.chief.executive@nhs.net.