Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Showing off our wares


Regular followers of this blog will know that my main work these days is as the E&D Programme Manager at NHS North West.

NHS North West is one of England's ten regional Strategic Health Authorities.

An SHA is a kind of regional extension of the Department of Health, channelling funding from the centre to a network of Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) who, in turn, decide how to spend that money on local services to meet the needs of their populations.

The SHA is then responsible for setting strategic direction and monitoring the performance of the whole 'system'.

It's a huge undertaking. In the North West, the SHA has a budget of £12,000,000,000, oversees a system of 63 organisations employing 220,000 staff, and ultimately addresses the needs of almost 6.9 million people living in a geographically massive region.

A story to tell

Earlier this year I published a series of blogs describing our team's philosophy where Equality and Diversity is concerned. The seventh article in that series provides a handy index into most of these articles.

Since then I've also published a few additional pieces about recent advances, such as the launch of our LGB&T History timeline and a unique practical guide to monitoring sexual orientation.

And if you're wondering why all of this matters then here's a reminder.

Credit where it's due

We are very proud of our achievements as a team.

Our work is led by Shahnaz Ali (pictured right), who is simply one of the most effective innovators I've ever met in this field. I don't think her mind ever stops, and she is a brilliant networker. It is her energy that gets so much out of all of us, as a small but very productive team.

My job, as programme manager, is to catch all the balls she throws and ensure everything gets delivered. Along the way I bring in my various creative and project management talents to flesh things out.

Then there is our communications and engagement lead, Loren Grant, who is simply brilliant at coordinating the talents of our creative contractors, organising the nitty gritty details of events, writing publicity and newsletter materials, running up Powerpoints, and generally producing stuff.

Telling the world

The NHS is a huge place. Overall it employs 1.4 million people. The only larger single organisation is the Chinese Army.

It is never therefore enough to just create good strategies and solutions. You have to work very hard to tell people what you are doing and where to go for expertise. Even in our own region it is a significant task to communicate regularly with 63 NHS organisations.

That's why this week we are off to staff our own exhibition stand at the NHS Confederation Conference in Manchester.

If you happen to be an NHS type and are visiting the conference do drop by to say hello. You'll find us on stand B27.

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