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NHS release crowdsourced guide to change in healthcare


Change is undoubtedly one of the hardest things for any organization to achieve, so it’s perhaps not surprising that there is such an emphasis on this in the modern, complex and rapidly changing world.

The National Health Service have recently teamed up with the Health Service Journal and Nursing Times to put together a guide on change.

The guide was a crowdsourced affair, taking in some 13,000 contributions over a three month period.  The end product is broken down into three sections:

  1. Barriers to change
  2. Building blocks
  3. Solutions

Barriers to change

When it came to some of the key (perceived) barriers to change among NHS staff, they included things like an aversion to taking risks and a leadership that is largely stuck in command and control methods.

Building blocks

The next phase saw participants asked for some of the systemic changes that could help to support a more ‘bottom up’ change culture within the NHS.  These building blocks include empowering staff to speak up, providing an open and transparent environment, and providing a level of thought diversity.

Whilst there is a slight mention (under long-term thinking) about giving employees time to think about change, this is arguably the biggest hurdle to overcome.

Whether it’s time to learn new things, or time to think about change and improvement, there is a strong culture of nose to the grindstone in healthcare that seldom affords employees time to think, learn and reflect.


It’s this last point that makes the solutions part of the equation a significant challenge.  I agree with much of what is there, and there is an awful lot to digest, and the challenge now is to encourage people to consume it and integrate it into their working lives.

It’s a challenge that project lead Helen Bevan talks about in an article for the HSJ.  She notes how the process of the challenge provoked participants to provide positive contributions towards change, which marks a change from critiquing from the sidelines, as is so easy to do.

She highlights however that they are very much the first steps, and the challenge now is to turn the energy and insights generated by the process into actions.

You can check out the Change Toolkit and access all of the barriers/building blocks/solutions here.

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