“I love it when a plan comes together” was the catchphrase of Colonel John ‘Hannibal’ Smith, the leader of a crack team of ex-special forces operatives turned mercenaries who in the early eighties, took global TV by storm. The show was basically the same every week. A group of oppressed people would somehow contact the mysterious ‘A Team’ with a seemingly impossible problem and Hannibal and the team would take on the baddies with homemade weapons and vehicles constructed from what was to hand, the ‘installed base’ if you like. When the baddies are bloodlessly knocked unconscious or put to flight at the end of the episode Hannibal trots out this catchphrase.
I agree with him. There’s nothing as satisfying as taking an idea from inception to execution. Taking an idea from a napkin to become the Great North Care Record, taking a small group of people to become a network of thousands who are celebrating 10 years of Digital Health Summer Schools this week.
Well, I have that deeply satisfying feeling again. Regular readers may recall how I appealed to my colleagues at SARD to give trust Medical Directors the instruments they need to avoid ‘flying blind’ in my article Doing the Hard Work to Make Good Ideas Real.
These ideas, which were only just that, have now been made real and I have just seen the first full report of our new Workforce Optimisation Service and it is exceptional. And dare I say, incredibly timely. We now have an NHS Trust that has a comprehensive understanding of their workforce’s demand and capacity challenges. And the best part? We’re right there with them, with the necessary expertise available to help them address these issues.
While we welcome the NHS Long Term Workforce Plan, it’s clear that immediate relief for Medical Directors isn’t on the horizon and will take some years. This is where SARD’s A-Team comes in. They’ve developed comprehensive tools and adopted a ‘do it with you’ service to make effective team job planning a reality. And this isn’t a distant goal – they’ve already successfully implemented it in an NHS trust, using data from their existing systems.
Who will be next to join the workforce optimisation revolution and leave behind the meaningless paperchase The Big Lie?
I will be at Summer School this week and on stage on Thursday morning and on Friday afternoon, do come and talk to me or drop me a line.
I love it when a plan comes together!
Prof Joe McDonald, Medical Director