42 years in the NHS
So,42 yearshave passedsince Ijoinedthe NHSwhichisveryhard to take in.I have workedwith
some greatpeople overthistime. The change intechnologiesfrom1974 to now are immense. Ihave
had the privilegeof workingforthree highlyratedandworldclassorganisationsoverthis40+ year
periodwhichhasbeena privilege andanhonour.
The opportunitiesandenablementof change usingITisenormousanditis probablythe most
excitingtime toworkinIT and inthe NHS. Yes,there are challengesanddifficulties,buttechnologyif
adoptedanddeployedinthe rightwayforthe right reasonandin a realistictimescale,issopowerful
it can revolutionisehow organisations work.
I seemtobe attendingretirementeventsonamonthlybasisrecentlywhich only crystallisesones
ownage,but alsoindicatesthat a greatdeal of knowledge isleavingorganisations. Whileit isgood
and necessarytohave ‘youngguns’coming the NHS,there isstill a needforexperienced‘oldhands’
whocan still playanessentialrole.
Successionplanninghasneverbeenagreatstrengthwithinthe NHS,butitis now critical that thisis
done to ensure that the nextgenerationof staff have the rightknowledge andskillstobuild onwhat
has beenstarted. Iam alsoan advocate of introducingtechnology/informaticsapprenticeshipsin
orderto provide thatsuccessionandcontinuity,providingareal careerpath.
The continuingstatements thatwe need‘more leadership’or‘there isa lackof leadership’isa
regularrhetoricbandedabout.Ido not believe thatwe needmore orthat there isa lack of leaders.
In myexperience, itisthe case that staff are notgiven the opportunitytodemonstrate theirskillsor
ideas and there are plentyof staff whoare just waitingtobe giventhe permission toexpress
While there have beenimprovementsmade,itisstill alittle disappointingtosee andhearof the
continuedlackof collaborationwithinthe NHS ITteamsand itsassociatedhealthcare services. The
same oldissuesare still beingdiscussed(Inter-operability –sharedrecords – systemintegration –
standards) whichrestrictandtake out valuable resourcesgoingaroundthe same circle withoutany
conclusions. Atatime whenthere isenormoustransformationtakingplace, aswell as reduced
investmentandlimitedsuppliersandsolutionsavailable,itiscritical thatIT staff talk to eachother
and share experiencesinordertomake sure thatdecisionsthatare made are basedon real
experiencesfromorganisationsthatmayhave attemptedorhave deployedagiventechnology.
However,the realityisthatdue tostaff feelingthreatenedabouttheirjobs,organisations(including
IT staff) regularly seemtowanttoreinvent the wheel.
So,to sum up.It has beena greatexperiencesofar,there isstill life inthisolddogandthe
opportunitiesthatITcan be involvedinare endless.Ican’tsay” here’stothe next40 years” butit
will be interestingtosee howITassiststhe transformationof the NHSoverthe nextdecade.