With so much riding on our ability to genuinely transform our services perhaps we need a new model for the future.

Professor Stephen Eames, Independent Chair for the Humber, Coast and Vale Health and Care Partnership

New guidance places transformation as a major responsibility of Integrated Care Systems which is great but transformation is one of those buzz words that means different things to different people.

I was in a meeting recently where somebody used the T-word and, in response, a local councillor said: “All you are doing is using a word that ordinary people don’t understand to disguise the cuts in services that you are planning to make.”  

Therein lies some truth because the search for smarter ways of doing things is often up against the application of blunt measures – freezing recruitment, squeezing suppliers and cutting posts. With so much riding on our ability to genuinely transform our services perhaps we need a new model for the future.

Last week Clayton Christensen, an internationally renowned management guru, passed away. His legacy – captured in his book, The Innovation Prescription, suggests the combined impact of new ways of doing things, simplifying and standardising processes, technological advances and a dynamic and volatile environment will both drive up quality and deal with the spiralling costs of healthcare and enable less costly, more accessible services for patients.

The theory goes that a new initiative or service takes root on the shop floor or in the community and then relentlessly moves up the food chain and eventually displaces the traditional way of doing things.

So the proposition is that, without this type of disruptive innovation, health and care systems will continue to struggle to respond to future challenges.

Admittedly, this is a massive simplification of a whole body of research by Christensen and colleagues that spans many years and numerous industries, but it seems to me that these ideas are relevant to what we are trying to achieve in our Humber, Coast and Vale Health and Care Partnership.

Like all parts of the NHS and the wider care system, we are facing a daunting future landscape where demand is outstripping supply; where it’s difficult to find the workforce we need and where there is an explosion of demand and need from the elderly frail population. So I contend we have to change to survive and grow.

With this in mind, perhaps we should all ask ourselves some questions…

In no particular order, these may include: When was the last time you embraced change and did something innovative? When was the last time you sought a partner to exploit an opportunity? Do you focus more on process than success?

In Hull we are definitely doing something innovative to detect lung cancer as early as possible.

Last Monday (27th January) the Hull Targeted Lung Health Check programme officially launched in the city, following 12 months of planning and preparation.

In January 2019 Hull was one of 10 sites in England selected to roll out the pilot programme, which will help to save lives by detecting lung cancer and other lung conditions much earlier, when they are easier to treat.

A lung cancer scanning truck will be used to carry out the lung health checks in various communities (including supermarket car parks) in Hull throughout 2020 and 2021.

People living in the city aged from 55 to less than 75 who smoke, or used to smoke, and have a Hull GP, will be offered a lung health check.

Well done to all those involved in what will undoubtedly be a hugely successful screening programme that will make a positive difference to many people living in Hull.

For more information about the NHS Lung Health Check programme in Hull please visit www.lunghealthcheck.org.uk

Leo Stevens

Author Leo Stevens

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