Lynne Huckerby

Lynne Huckerby

Director Consulting Expert

Many millions of people interact with NHS services day in, day out. In fact, the King’s Fund estimates there are 1.5 million interactions with patients every single day1. These experiences between citizens, patients, their circles of care, and NHS staff, as well as the processes and systems enabling these interactions, are the golden thread in the NHS’ aim to deliver quality models of care that are modern and accessible for people in need of support.

As a relative who accompanied my mum through a very short-lived cancer journey over a period of one month earlier this year, looking beyond the personal emotional rollercoaster, I was humbled to experience first-hand the winter pressures faced by NHS staff. The dedication and commitment of the frontline workforce was exemplary, and despite extenuating circumstances, they always strived to provide the best possible care.

However, it was somehow falling short. 

Having personally worked in the sector across NHS Scotland, within primary and secondary care services in regional boards and at a national level, I understand the service connection points and digital systems in place. This meant that in most instances, I could join the dots and foresee the potential pitfalls and loopholes we faced (particularly with festive closures) and as far as possible, attempted to proactively address those. But for the lay person, this may not have been the case. 


Key challenges to overcome

From my perspective, there were several key challenges we needed to navigate:

Access to GP services - The telephony system to make routine appointments was cumbersome, and with long waiting times and only restricted appointments available, this was a barrier to my mum receiving the right care at the right time.
Extreme demand - The sheer pressure on services was exceeding the supply of staff across the entire system, therefore increasing the burden across GPs, nursing staff, doctors, paramedics, etc.
Traditional models - The use of paper for referrals and clinical note taking was staggering given this modern digital era. It resulted in a lack of consistent, timely and accurate access to critical information about care and treatment plans for all key stakeholders, including those striving to care for my mum, as well as us family members.
Data and information sharing – There was a lack of shared data, both within the hospital building itself and across traditional boundaries of primary and secondary care. Not to mention the consequences of limited information sharing with national services such as the Scottish Ambulance Service and NHS 24 (111), and the third sector (in this case, MacMillan Cancer Support). This inability to function as a team to share information within wards, specialties, across primary and secondary care, and even with family, created obstacles for quality, timely care, and hindered effective decision making.


Important lessons to learn

Reflecting on my mum’s journey, as well as my first-hand knowledge having worked in NHS Scotland for 30 years, it’s clear that traditional systems and pathways of care are breaking the system.

Much can be done to transform these to create better quality, more effective health and care experiences for ourselves, our families and friends. That’s one of the reasons why I moved into the private sector, to use my passion for the work I do to help create people-focused, data-enabled outcomes that will truly make a difference.

These are just some of the changes that I recommend will truly transform health and care experiences:

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Service redesign – By working to understand current pathways of care and identifying areas of non-value add activities, we can create the future, more effective and sustainable state for health and care services.

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Digital transformation – By identifying where technology has a role in improving access to services, we can truly transform experiences for citizens, patients and staff, and enable operational efficiencies and financial sustainability whilst keeping systems and data safe.

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Programme management – Establish effective conditions for change and transformation within health and care organisations through effective PMO governance arrangements, with the right leadership in place to build capacity and capability across teams.

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Workforce wellbeing – Support and enable improved communications across staff, understand their pain points, and nurture positive relationships through action-focused engagement that empowers them to deliver the best quality care to citizens.

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Change and culture management – Create the behaviour and mindset changes necessary to enable successful transformation programmes, including individual-based coaching as well as across whole organisations and integrated systems.


Let's work together to make a difference 

The challenges of the system are well documented and understood, so using our Health and Care team’s combined +100 years of first-hand experience in the sector, we’re here to help you transform. We can’t revolutionise whole systems all at once, but by starting with an overall vision and then breaking that down into reasonable steps, we can help to rebuild your services to address human-centred engagement.

Using a people, process and technology approach, we work as an extension of your teams to truly understand your citizens’, patients’ and employees’ specific needs. By understanding their pain points and challenges, we can work together to best resolve your organisation’s problems and enable everyone to access the right level of care, at the right time, from the right people.

If you’d like to learn more about how our Health and Care team can support your digital transformation journey, please explore our page. Or don’t hesitate to reach out to me for an informal chat about how our Advisory Services offerings can help you make a difference. 

About this author

Lynne Huckerby

Lynne Huckerby

Director Consulting Expert

Lynne has 30 years’ experience of working in the NHS in Scotland. She has worked across Scotland in regional Boards and at National Board level in primary and community services, secondary care services across a range of specialties and at a national delivery level. In ...