#WGT16 – The virtual vanguard

Some of the most forward thinking, passionate, hardworking and dedicated health care professionals I know are those I have met through Twitter.  There is a groundswell of grass roots thinkers and do-ers who use Twitter to throw about ideas, thoughts, evidence & research, they use social media to support and inspire one another, to share new things and new thinking and all in the name of improving the care that we give.  I have often thought to myself what would it be like to get a group of these people in one real space … to bring this virtual vanguard together!


There can be no doubt that #WGT16 or WeGetTogether 2016 started in an unusual way … as a tweet, a single idea compressed into 140 little characters that said something along the lines of “we should organise a get together” that tweet then sparked a conversation that galvanised health care professionals and people interested in health into action.  The event was crowdsourced through a twitter discussion that asked people what they wanted from an event and then it was crowdfunded with both individuals and organisations contributing. The event venue was kindly donated by the University of Salford and everyone who worked as part of the core team to make the event a reality gave their time and expertise for free.  It was, as is any event for 250 people, really hard work, however, it was one of the most worthwhile and awe-inspiring projects I have ever been involved in.


There were three aims for the event the first being to merely bring together the amazing virtual vanguard into one space to exchange ideas and to meet, this was achieved with bells on! People met, and hugged and laughed and shared throughout the day, we made sure that there was plenty of time to talk .. and people talked and talked. The second aim was to create a blueprint for a 21st-century healthcare conference  – this was not only in terms of how the event was conceived and planned but also in the delivery of the conference.  We wanted to ensure that whether people were inside the room or outside of the room the still felt part of the day.  We used a plethora of social media both in the planning and on the day itself; we used Twitter, Blogs, YouTube, Infographics, Vines, Pinterest, Periscope, and Flickr and we wove them all together to create a media stacked experience and a bank of resources that could be used both pre, during and post the event.  Our third and final aim was to explore the future of social media in healthcare and how together we could use social media to improve peoples lives and health care services through social media – there was lots of discussion and sharing around this and since the event we have been collating and exploring some of those discussions in order to turn the energy of the day into actions for the future.


#WGT16 was a healthcare event that was the first of its kind and one of my hopes for the event is that we can learn from it and take that learning to shape future events.  Time is precious in health and we are all often short of time so coming together has to be worthwhile and it has to drive action.  We need to change events from those where we are passive watchers being talked at by the few to events where the energy, passion and expertise of many are used to drive the future of health. The lovely Helen Bevan spoke for a brief time at #WGT16 and she said that #WGT16 was “history in the making” … I agree with Helen it was certainly that … however, I think it was also the future in the making.  It seems to me that the hard work has just started and the future is being driven right now by the people brave enough to engage and share. In order to now make #WGT16 really worthwhile we need to take our learning and share it, to move forward with health events and change how we plan and deliver them, in addition to this we need to harness the energy of the virtual vanguard into real action and start to plan the future of social media and health. If anyone can do it the virtual vanguard can.



Hope and the ember


There is a famous Banksy painting. It has a drab outdoor background and a girl reaching out for or letting go of a red balloon ( no one seems sure which – perhaps its both ).  Written on a wall are the words ‘There is always Hope’. Its a powerful message. In the darkness and greyness of our work, services and life we need often to hear this message. ‘There is always Hope’. We also need to find and be close to those like the young girl reaching out for the bright and good and sharing kind acts and dreams.

At a recent national NHS event I did a workshop with Maxine Craig. We asked the participants to raise their hands if they had ever talked in their teams about hope. Only one hand was raised and that was someone from my own NHS Trust who works with me on this theme!

This writing by Tony is a part of the work of speaking hope and sharing possibilities. It is wonderfully written from a pen and heart that cares for others. It calls us all to recognise those embers burning around us and indeed in us and nurture them to flame and spread. Hope kindling is a duty, need and art. Services and organisations without hope will internally decay. It really is that serious. May we all hear the call Tony makes. On it depends much.

5 Ways to Turbocharge Development of Trust in Relationships

This succinct blog post highlights five simple ways to build trust as a leader or change agent.  Whilst not rocket science, it is a useful reminder that authenticity and true engagement matters.  21st-century leadership is all about connectivity and building a shared sense of purpose.  I picked this post as a believer in collaboration with values, trust and purpose.

Randy Conley’s blog post is a 5-minute read.               

How to provide feedback

Do you give great feedback that provides insight for the person who receives it?  Fisher and Sharp nail in a simple framework a way for you to improve your approach.   The article challenges us to consider the emotion that is wrapped around the process and make sure that our feedback is targeted and resonates with the individual.

We have all been on the receiving end of good and bad feedback. Reflect on those experiences, consider the framework and challenge yourself to give feedback in the future that makes a positive difference to the person receiving it.

Episode: HMF November 2015 Podcast: Be careful what you ask for: Things policy-makers should know before mandating networks

Fascinating take on mandating networks in thirty minutes.  I find podcasts are useful to catch up with the latest thinking from around the world.  As a member of several networks and leading on development of The Edge network it was insightful to challenge my preconceptions about the way interactions happen.  Building on this knowledge my aim will be to connect with others to understand what the edge network needs to look like in the future.  If you would like to be part of this work please contact me through the edge email or twitter.  

Igniting Clinical Curiosity – Going with the Flo

Well known Nursing change agent Joan Pons Laplana gives us his reflections on how the use of technology is changing culture in healthcare in his area. He works within a CCG focusing on the use of “Florence” or Flo an interactive mobile phone text service which communicates with the patient directly providing support and advice for them to manage their health condition. It can help patients monitor their blood pressure, pulse, oxygen levels and many other things.

My interest in this as non-geek was in how Joan went about influencing the clinicians particularly to considering adopting Flo. He met with initial resistance but in true change agent style utilised a range of techniques to get the message across. He “went for ‘no’”, got the message out using social media, found his allies including among the patients engaged with the CCG, had connected conversations and above all formed relationships across the board – left to right, top to bottom.

Needless to say, his efforts are bearing fruits with 80% of the GP practices in his area now using Flo. Great to hear a practical example of a change agent getting results.

Patient-driven change for an improved health and care system

In the past, improvement efforts were typically led by health care leaders and professionals, who were familiar with the service provided but were not “experts by experience”. As health and care systems strive for person-centred care, it’s important for not only a change in care delivery, but also a change in how change and transformation is achieved. In order to create person-centred care, service users and families need to be regarded as true partners in care and in redesign.

Gamification / game on! using gamification to engage and motivate change.

Finding new ways to work sometimes requires us to look outside the healthcare context. Games motivate us – to cooperate within teams, to solve complex challenges, to strive for a personal best, to create, discover and explore. What if we could apply those same strategies to improving our health and care system?

Catch up with all sessions from NHS Transformathon 2016 now!

We did it!

With your help, we created an amazing 24 hour event where we heard from innovators across the globe on how they are improving health and care. NHS Transformathon brought the world together to share ideas, successes and lessons learnt – all to help improve the NHS.

Speakers from as far away as New Zealand and Canada joined change experts, staff and patients in the UK, to share the latest methods and models for making change. Topics covered included: how to use social media and film to improve health and care services, how organisations in Wandsworth have come together to improve the health of their community, how seven day services have been introduced in Australia, prototyping in the new care models programme and how patients are leading and driving change.

Our amazing panellists have left us feeling energised and inspired and we want to share their great ideas with everyone, so if you missed any of the sessions or were unable to join live then don’t worry because all of the sessions were recorded and are available to watch again, just visit the NHS Transformathon webpage and click on the session title to view the recording

Tell us what you think

What did we do well? What could we do better? Did we feature everything you wanted to see or did we miss something? So that we can ensure we are delivering the type of events, featuring the subjects and speakers that you want to see, we’d really appreciate if you could feed back to us by filling in our short survey. It should only take 2 minutes.

If you have any questions about the event, please do not hesitate to contact us at

#SHCR: an inspiring, free course that will help you change health care for the better

This article about the School for Health and Care Radicals (SHCR) describes the author’s experience of taking part in the School during 2015. Elissa explains how the SHCR worked and how it made a positive impact on her personal and professional life. It is heart-warming to see that it was such a positive experience for Elissa, partly because I was the Editor/Administrator for the School but also because it is a programme that I feel very passionate about.

Working behind the scenes often meant that I wasn’t always aware of the positive impact the School had on people but reading this article makes me realise just how far reaching the School is.

The SHCR starts again on Thursday 4th February, reading this article will give the reader a fantastic insight to the SHCR. If you are interested in finding out further information about the new School year please visit the website we hope to see you there!

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