Celebrating streamlining in the North West region

Rachel Heyes


Rachel Heyes is a senior engagement support officer for the North of England, supporting the regional HR director and SPF networks in the North West region. In this blog she reports back on some of the successes and tips she picked up while attending a North West streamlining programme event.

On Friday 15 March 2019 I attended an event at Haydock racecourse to celebrate the success over the last three years of streamlining in the North West of England. I couldn’t believe it was two years since I attended the same venue for their first event, which took place one year after starting the programme - it was certainly clear to see how much progress had been made since then. The event marked the programme management office coming to an end and focused on their streamlining journey, the benefits realised from the work, and how streamlining will continue its momentum without a regional programme structure in place.

The event was chaired by Rachael Charlton, HR director at East Cheshire NHS Trust and executive sponsor for the North West streamlining programme. She opened the event and spoke passionately about always keeping the need “to create an agile and flexible workforce…allowing staff to move anywhere in the NHS… which would improve their experience at work… and free up their time to provide quality care to patients” at the heart of the work.

Emma Turner, North West streamlining programme manager shared her reflections. She said that the success was down to key stakeholders investing their time in the programme, over and above their day jobs. The programme also had HR director-level support, and this leadership enabled the programme to move at pace.

It was a particularly exciting moment at the event when the final benefits calculator was shared with the delegates. The team revealed the actual cost efficiency savings across the region totalled £2,788,447. While it’s important to remember this isn’t cost reduction savings, it’s still a credit to the programme that these savings are as a direct result of streamlining.

The first part of the morning was spent hearing from the three leads from the North West sub-regional programmes in Greater Manchester, Cumbria and Lancashire, and Cheshire and Merseyside about their journey. While some had made more progress than others, there were some important themes that came out across all three.

  • Importance of senior buy-in and support to help drive the programme.
  • Resilience and relationships – with such a large-scale change management programme, you are always going to come up against resistance, but it's about developing those positive relationships with staff and colleagues and ensuring everyone is on board.
  • Partnership working – it’s important to involve staff side at an early stage and develop positive working relationships with them.
  • Sharing of work and progress across the region helped others.
  • Contacts –streamlining involves many key stakeholders across the system and the wealth of knowledge you pick up from your contacts along the way is invaluable.

In the afternoon we heard from Lucy Judge from NHS Employers. She spoke about the different networks available at a national level. The purpose was to help and enable the sharing of work across the system in terms of streamlining. Many colleagues reflected on how useful the streamlining resource hub is as a tool to connect people going forward. 

Colleagues focused on looking to the future. It was pleasing to see each of the regions had plans in place to incorporate streamlining into other workstreams or groups already established, so that this work can continue. It was also great to see that many of the streamlining leads who chair or lead the different themes (eg, recruitment, training, policy) wanted to continue in their roles to operationally drive this work forward. 

At the end of the event, one quote from a colleague from Cheshire and Merseyside stuck with me; "systems create organisational boundaries, but it's the people who deliver the change". It's the HR teams and other key stakeholders who have worked hard to get streamlining in the North West to where it is today - to benefit employee experience in a way that enables them to deliver better patient care.

Further information

This blog was published as part of NHS Streamlining Week, visit the streamlining resource hub to learn more about streamlining in the NHS and the efficiencies you can make.

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