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System dynamics in the NHS – The pursuit of stability and innovation

System dynamics in the NHS – The pursuit of stability and innovation cover

Ahead of our 2023 NHS Transformation Symposium (26th September, Hallam Conference Centre, London), George Coxon (Chair of the South West Care Collaborative) offers an insider’s perspective on system dynamics in the NHS.

George will be a guest speaker and panellist at our Symposium and will lead a breakout session on ‘Collaborating with the NHS – How to become the irresistible ingredient’. To join George at the symposium, book your tickets here. Over to George…

Challenges facing NHS system leaders

Ask any given audience in our evolving health and care systems about system dynamics (as I often do!) and you are mostly likely to elicit some common responses:

  • “There’s so much change, causing instability and uncertainty
  • “There are huge challenges in translating policy into frontline health and care improvements
  • Reconciling and delivering sometimes conflicting priorities is really tough”
  • “We are still dealing with the consequences of Brexit, the pandemic, the cost of living crisis and massive staff disillusionment. This is leading to recruitment and retention pressures and much unrest, resulting in industrial action aplenty!”

Staying confident, upbeat, and strong in this sort of climate can be a big ask.

One way to do it is through collaboration.

Driving change through collaboration and partnership

I was part of a health and care leadership immersive programme led by the Kings Fund over 5 intensive months in 2022, with 40 fellow participants from all aspects of health and care settings. This included senior clinicians, policy leaders, managers and commissioners predominantly, all from across the very broad church of the NHS.

System leaders from primary care, secondary care, and other parts of our often disconnected system came together to share the desperate desire and determination to innovate in the context of cost pressures and increasing demand.

The energy in each of the modules was palpable and has led to ongoing likeminded alliances of those of us so strongly bonded during the programme.

Imagine what broader partnerships could foster.

Introducing innovation in a changing NHS – Be the solution, not the problem

The question of stability in a context of perpetual change at every level is undoubtedly tough. So too is bringing a new idea, product, or treatment to an arena that keeps altering its rules and personnel.

What I have experienced first-hand, in many roles within health and care work, is the importance of being a solution rather than a problem.

System dynamics are important to grasp in helping us achieve success when building relationships with the NHS.

We must be creative, credible and constructive in maintaining energy and enthusiasm. We must develop a tactical plan to be irresistible in how we all must navigate the changing landscape of health and care. Our plan should understand the instability facing NHS leaders. It should address the urgent need for solution-focussed help. Our plan must see us unite against the common enemy – infinite demand, finite resources and a lot of struggle therein.

Attendees of our NHS Transformation Symposium will have the opportunity to explore this topic further with George Coxon during his breakout session ‘Collaborating with the NHS – How to become the irresistible ingredient’. Book your tickets today to join us live in London on Tuesday 26th September.

George Coxon - NHS Transformation Symposium speaker