This third NHS Change Day will record the actions of the hundreds of thousands of staff who pledge to make a change, says Danielle Baker
NHS Change Day began in 2013 amid a whirlwind of energy, enthusiasm and grassroots voluntary activity.
What it achieved was nothing short of incredible: more than 189,000 pledges from people wanting to change healthcare for the better.
‘Change Day will be supporting national and grassroots campaigns’
The challenge for Change Day 2014 was one of scale: the previous year’s response had been so overwhelming that the group of volunteers in 2014 wanted to reach even more people. They certainly achieved this, attracting more than 800,000 pledges.
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What is important about Change Day is that it enables so many people to come together with a shared passion for improving care for our patients, regardless of their role.
It is this passion that drives change and welcomes volunteers, new and old, into the fold.
Another important element of Change Day is that those driving it practice what they preach, listen to feedback, and adapt and improve it each year.
In the last 12 months, Change Day has received both positive and negative feedback. And we have listened, debated, discussed and changed. This is the culture we are all trying to spread within our organisations and beyond, and change starts at home.
There will be differences evident in Change Day this year. The first is that instead of pledges, we will be asking people to record and share their actions.
Whilst asking people to pledge to make a change can have a significant impact, there can be instances where a pledge does not materialise into an action. So, this year the emphasis of Change Day will be on action.
Feeding the grassroots
Many NHS staff and patients will know exactly what actions they want to make in order to change something, but many will not. For this reason Change Day will be supporting national and grassroots campaigns, all of which are suggesting a handful of actions people can undertake.
The campaigns are led by passionate and dedicated NHS staff and patients from across the country, and cover vital topics such as sepsis management, mental health, maternity experience and patient leadership, among many others.
‘The focus is on implementing change for the sole purpose of creating a better health service for patients’
One of our campaigns is led by Andy Tysoe, a dementia nurse at Countess of Chester Hospital Foundation Trust.
He has been working to reduce the stigma around dementia care for years, improving environments and engaging local supermarkets in becoming dementia friendly.
His passion for improving care for people with dementia sparked his #DementiaDO Twitter campaign, which calls on people to take a simple action, such as meeting someone with dementia and finding out one amazing thing about them.
Another campaign was the outcome of the pairing of Hannah Short, a GP registrar in Bury St Edmunds, and Natasha North, a nurse currently working as a research programme director in Cape Town. Both have experienced firsthand an overwhelming lack of knowledge and focus in the NHS on menopausal health.
They are committed to improving awareness and reducing the stigma associated with it.
Their dedication led to the creation of menopauseuk.org, and their campaign #ChangetheChange will be asking people to take a simple action, such as discussing menopausal health in their workplace or joining an online forum.
Beyond the call of duty
A vast number of brilliant, dedicated people in the NHS work far above and beyond their roles because of the passion they have for improving patients’ care.
The pledges made last year and the number of campaigns Change Day is supporting this year are proof of this.
‘Record your action on 11 March and help us light up the country’
But the focus is, and will always be, on supporting and implementing change within NHS organisations for the sole purpose of creating a better health service for patients.
Change Day is a way for the service to celebrate this passion and to ignite it in many more people. Record your action on 11 March and help us light up the country.
Danielle Baker is directorate manager of oncology, haematology and medical physics at University Hospitals of North Midlands Trust