I believe that the NHS is one of the great civilising forces in our society and I have been proud, over my career, to do what I can to support and develop it. Recent events have demonstrated beyond doubt the value of a publicly funded, accessible and free at the point of delivery service to individuals, families, communities and our society in total.
Initially I offered this support as a nursing assistant working in forensic mental health services. Following further qualifications and experience in individual, group and organisational psychology/behaviour I have moved into the field of leadership, organisational and system development both within the NHS and other organisations. I spent a substantial portion of my career as a senior fellow at the Kings Fund directing some of their large scale clinical and managerial development programmes. As an Associate at the Kings Fund I remain a contributor to some of these programmes.
I have latterly extended this work into the wider fields of social care and community development as I came to realise that the factors affecting health and well-being most acutely were not treating illness but preventing it through broader influences in education, employment, community development, housing etc.
As a result I now do work that attempts to support and develop joint work across health, social care, education, criminal justice and the voluntary and third sectors –this has focused on areas such as; urgent and emergency care, out of hospital care, mental health, homelessness, community advocacy etc. For instance, I have over recent years worked with staff from the Bromley By Bow healthy living centre in support of their innovative and important work across health, housing, employment and community development etc.
This broader, system development approach brings about improvements to services that individual organisations and sectors cannot achieve alone. However, it is difficult work as there are many psychological, organisational and structural barriers and assumptions that militate against it. I believe I can contribute through such things as; facilitating conversations across boundaries, exposing tacit beliefs and assumptions that impede development, developing shared stories and supporting practitioners and leaders as they chart a course through these barriers and difficulties. It is work that I am passionate about and proud to be a small part of.