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How a single purpose and vision can overcome any obstacle

Written by: Tony Jamieson - 15th May 2020

Our Director of Transformation and Improvement reflects on his recent experience working as part of the team that established the NHS Nightingale Hospital for Yorkshire and the Humber.

What an historic achievement. In less than three weeks a new hospital was created, from a building that had a very different purpose, in Harrogate’s Convention Centre. This is innovation at its absolute best.  

The teamwork between NHS, businesses and the Army was exemplary. Over that short period was able to bring all my past experiences and the skills I developed in Yorkshire & Humber AHSN to play my part in this amazing team.  

was embedded in the pharmacy team under the wonderful leadership of Professor Liz KayClinical Director for Medicines Management and Pharmacy Services, Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trustto create governance and safety infrastructure for the new hospital.  

also had the opportunity to work with Frances Healey, Deputy Director of Patient Safety at NHS England and NHS Improvement. Together with the Nursing Team we created a responsive and progressive way of supporting staff wellbeing and continuous learning in this new environment. I applied Human Factors science with colleagues from the Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch to test our plans and keep patients safe, and I trained healthcare assistants and nurses on how to keep patients safe in what were predicted to be extraordinary circumstances. 

I learned a huge amount, not just about critical care, but about what can be achieved by a group of people who, with a single purpose and vision, can overcome any obstacle. Innovation and ingenuity were everywhere I looked. I am so proud of what we achieved. 

My thanks goes to the team I worked with, without whose camaraderie the demands would have been too great to bear. It was an emotional and uplifting experience, and I am hugely grateful to have been invited to contribute and for the insight and forbearance of my AHSN colleagues who held the fort whilst releasing me to complete this important work.