Who are you? What do you do?

I am John Walsh @JohnWalsh88 and I work at York Street Health Practice. We are part of Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Trust. York Street is the medical team for people who are homeless and in the asylum system. I have worked 20 years with homeless people. My new role is as practice manager / operational lead.

What has been your most notable radical accomplishment or experience?

The greatest thing I have seen is transformation. By this I mean where human beings really become aware of who they are, what they are and what they have to offer. This can be clients or staff or carers. This process is something that starts to change everything. I think we often just work on the surface – changing a structure, writing a new policy or creating a new role. These can all be good things but its the deep work that really changes people and creates new realities.


When did you first realise that you are a health & care radical?

I have seen people with awful life experiences move to healing, recovery and freedom through the years. This has really impacted me. Also a few years I wrote the model for the service. This is not what we do but how we do what we do. It is an inner model focused on positive spaces, relationships and compassionate values. It came from hours and hours of trying to find the words to describe to visitors what York Street is all about at it’s best. The words became a presentation. In these times of trying to articulate our service identity doors opened for me of what our work was all about. Recent work with Maxine Craig has convinced me that this model can be used in teams and with lots of very different people.

What is your favourite question?

Either ‘What difference can you make?’ or ‘What power, possibility and choices do you have in this situation?’

What one clue tells you you’re affecting positive change?

Feedback. Emails, tweets and personal sharing from others tells me that I am getting it right sometimes.

What do you think it’s most important for people to understand about radicals?

I think the enemy of positive change and innovation is the belief that people can’t change and things won’t change. I would like people to see that authentic transformation is possible and does occur. I have seen it. When we find ourselves everything starts to fit.

What’s your one word piece of advice for radicals?


Where do you think radicals are most needed today?

I think we need people committed to transformational practice everywhere. I think we will have a real problem if we do amazing work in the NHS and this isn’t occurring in Social Care and Housing and the Third Sector. We are all in this together. We also need to support and promote an alliance between patients, staff and carers for best culture and care. We can learn so much from each other and find new ways to see, think and do health and care.

Who is your favourite radical from the past 100 years?

Dr Viktor Frankl. The reasons are focus on personal responsibility, the power of goodness, that we can choose to be the best in the worst conditions, how hope supports us through the darkness and the importance of inner work. These facets are to me transformational work. The great news is that we all can do these.

What’s the one thing you should never say to a radical?

‘You’ll never do that’

How do you rate yourself as a radical:

To be honest I use the word transformation or transformational. The reasons are (1) this best describes my own journey – which I still have a long way to go with (2) for me it best describes how people and services can see, own and release their gifts and energies. (3) It is universal. We all have great gifts and qualities. In transformation we find the inner treasure. We become who we already are at our best.

I don’t think I can rate myself. I’d probably get it wrong anyway. I’ll leave that to those who know me to make that call.