Our Case Studies

Learning to Lead Together – Newcastle System Stewardship

A new training programme has been created by Collaborative Newcastle which provides multi-agency leadership development across the whole system, for senior staff at the health and care organisations in the City.  

The aim is to build stronger working relationships and embed trust, understanding and closer cooperation and collaboration, at the same time as developing key leadership skills and strategies.

Following its launch in 2019, over 125 graduates have completed the course, representing a diverse mix of organisations, roles and responsibilities – including GPs, pharmacists, finance directors, clinicians and health and care managers.

Some of our recent graduates have shared their experiences…

Trina Holcroft – The North East and North Cumbria NHS Integrated Care Board

What is your current role?

I am the designated nurse safeguarding children for Newcastle Gateshead CCG. My role involves seeking assurance from and supporting provider organisations to fulfil their safeguarding children responsibilities. I act as an advisor to both the Newcastle and Gateshead safeguarding children partnerships, represent the CCG on the joint child death overview panel and take a strategic lead on various work with multi-agencies across the area, including learning from case reviews to safeguard children from harm.

What are the key things you learned?

• Collaboration not competition, building relationships is key.

• We have the permission to think big, share ideas and progress!

• It’s ok to fail as you always learn valuable lessons along the way.

The course and the activities we participated in reinforced that effective communication is essential in everything we do. Despite me feeling like a fish out of water initially I learnt that regardless of the role you do, some fundamental principles apply in all aspects of work and life.

What did you gain from doing this course with people from other organisations?

I am unfamiliar with Newcastle as I hadn’t worked in this area so far in my career. I gained an insight into the different organisations and their functions, put some names to faces, albeit virtually, and I have built up networks with colleagues from other areas outside of my speciality. Hearing from our current leaders who offered their time to the group was interesting and inspirational.

Jennifer Glennie – Newcastle Hospitals Trust

What is your current role?

Physiotherapy Operational Lead for Medicine

What are the key things you learned?

System Leadership by its nature is a complex picture. It requires sustained effort to truly understand perspectives from different organisations which are different to my own. Regular, open, honest communication is essential to break down barriers across systems. But the potential achievements are worth the effort and bring great satisfaction.

What did you gain from doing this course with people from other organisations?

Working alongside people from other organisations was the most helpful part of the course, it enabled me to better understand driving forces outside healthcare across the region and gave me alternative perspectives which I hadn’t considered before.

Graham Mallaby – Newcastle Hospitals Trust

What is your current role?

My current role is Head of Rehabilitation Engineering & Aids for Living; I am responsible for the delivery of clinical engineering and assistive technology services regionally for people living with disabilities. These services work in close collaboration with therapists and other health, social care and medical professionals to help enable patients to remain in their own homes and realise their full potential in terms of mobility, independence, education, employment and social participation.

What are the key things you learned?

Throughout the programme, I have gained a greater understanding of the wider system, the scale of the issues faced within the system and the importance of tackling these issues collaboratively with open and honest communications and actions with colleagues across organisations. I have increased my knowledge and developed leadership attributes which will improve my confidence and ability to greater influence situations and help drive change and improvement. It has also increased my level of emotional intelligence understanding, helping me to be kinder to myself as well as others while better recognising the positives in all situations.

What did you gain from doing this course with people from other organisations?

I have established key contacts and working relationships with colleagues in leadership roles across organisations, while gaining an insight to the issues faced from the differing perspectives and shared experiences of the other programme participants. I have been motivated by the desire within the group to deliver the very best services while finding reassurance from some of the very honest vulnerable discussions demonstrating some common concerns and insecurities within our varied roles

Keith Armstrong – Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust

What is your current role?

I currently work in a support role function within Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust, as Head of Business Development and Finance within the Newcastle and Gateshead locality. This involves supporting clinical operations with decision making around delivery of services, in terms of affordability, location and premises and designing specific service models.

What are the key things you learned?

From a personal perspective it has helped me think about things in a more strategic and collaborative manner, by helping me understand all the various aspects which need to be considered. Whether its health inequalities across the region or conscious inclusion, or even just looking at things with an outside view across the wider system, rather than just an internal organisation focus.

What did you gain from doing this course with people from other organisations?

One of the key benefits was that it has helped me see the links and cross over to other partner organisations, such as identifying any duplication, or identifying gaps in service where service users may fall through the cracks. The other key aspect was that it enabled me to forge strong relationships with colleagues from partner organisations which helped me appreciate that the challenges are across the whole system, not just an individual organisation. Hopefully in us all acknowledging this, it will support services working together to help reduce some of the organisational barriers and enable collaborative working across the system, so that ultimately the service user will benefit from an improved service.

David Forster – NCC

What is your current role?

Service Manager, Prevention Services, Adult Social Care and Integrated Services, Newcastle City Council.

What are the key things you learned?

The power of networking with people from other organisations. For example, I oversee Information Now, a website that provides information for adults in Newcastle, and has the aim of preventing or delaying an escalation in health or social care needs. I was able to link in with other organisations to raise the profile of the site, add content to the site, provide training to other professionals in the sites use, and to update and tailor the site for specific organisations’ use.

What did you gain from doing this course with people from other organisations?

I got the opportunity to link in with hospital, CCG, CNTW, and voluntary sector staff.

Steph Edusei, St Oswald’s Hospice

What is your current role?

I run a large hospice in Newcastle and have overall responsibility for both service delivery and income generation, which includes our shops and fundraising team. As Chief Executive, I’m responsible for providing strategic direction for the organisation as a whole.

What are the key things you learned?

Having worked in the NHS and then latterly in the voluntary sector, it was great to see the two coming together in this programme. The importance of statutory services recognising the value of the voluntary and community sector really came across strongly and I gained a much greater understanding of the organisational barriers that exist, which we need to collectively overcome. I also gained a lot from the session on staff management which looked at how we can move away from more conventional processes to better engage, inspire and motivate our teams.

What did you gain from doing the course with people from other organisations?

The programme really helped to strengthen my networks and relationships across the health and care sector in the City. In many cases it was brilliant to put faces to names and to get to know and understand different perspectives. We were able to hear about colleagues’ diverse experiences which helps to broaden our own knowledge and understanding, and undoubtedly improves our ability to work collaboratively going forward.

Susan Djouama, Newcastle City Council

What is your current role?

I’m involved in commissioning social care services for people within Newcastle. This involves understanding what kind of support our population needs, finding good quality providers to deliver this at the right price, developing provision where there’s a gap in the market and monitoring the quality of the services delivered.

What are the key things you learned?

It’s really important for everyone to see what they’re doing in the context of the system. I’ve also learned that authenticity is key to good leadership – be you, be kind, be involved – and that I need to have the confidence to step up to or step down from a challenge or work opportunity; saying no isn’t a failure!

What did you gain from doing the course with people from other organisations?

There are a lot of talented people out there! Whatever we worked on was made all the better because of the breadth of perspectives.

Bill Kay, Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust

What is your current role?

My current role is Associate Director, covering inpatient wards in the North Locality of the Trust. I have responsibility for the operational delivery of services, which involves a range of tasks including patient safety, clinical governance and compliance with external assessment, service user and carer involvement, and workforce, finance and partnership working across the wider health and social care system.

What are the key things you learned?

I gained a much wider understanding of health & social care systems and how they interface, as well as a greater appreciation for the pressures in different parts of the system. I now better understand the challenge patients can face in navigating their way through different organisations and services too. I also learned a great deal about different leadership styles and the programme provided a healthy dose of self-reflection about my own strengths and areas for development. The importance of good communication and building strong relationships with others is key and I found the concept of ‘permission to fail’ really thought provoking and empowering.

What did you gain from doing the course with people from other organisations?

Learning alongside colleagues from other health and care organisations gave me a much better understanding of how to assist those that we serve, in navigating the system and improving the offer. I also gained a satisfying realisation that we all want the same thing – which is the best for people in our communities that use our services. It also gave me great confidence in the quality of our health and social care provision here in the region, which gives us a real platform to build upon and improve.

Julia Blagburn, Newcastle Hospitals

What is your current role?

I am a pharmacist supporting integrated services in Newcastle; I lead a team of patient facing pharmacists and pharmacy technicians improving population health with medicines.

What are the key things you learned?

I was preparing for a new role working with the City’s other health and social care providers. The programme increased my collaborative leadership knowledge and skills which has made an immediate impact on our team interactions and on our medium- and long-term strategic plans.

What did you gain from doing the course with people from other organisations?

I was able to extend my professional network further into other organisations and I anticipate this integration will improve the range and quality of things we are able to do together. We believe that working together across the system is key to solving some of the problems that patients experience; problems arise when organisations have conflicting goals or pathways that don’t meet seamlessly around the patient.

Marc Hopkinson, Newcastle Gateshead CCG

What is your current role?

My current role is Associate Director and I’m responsible for the commissioning and operational delivery of urgent and emergency care services. However, for the past year I have been Covid-19 Incident Director for the North Integrated Care Partnership where I have worked very closely with all parts of the health and care system.

What are the key things you learned?

It enhanced my ability to influence and collaborate more effectively – crucial in ensuring integration across a number of systems and at different levels. It made me more politically astute and intellectually flexible; I know that effective system leaders use political awareness to deliver improved outcomes. The programme also really made me aware of my emotional intelligence and the importance of appreciating other perspectives and seeking common purpose and understanding.

What did you gain from doing the course with people from other organisations?

Everyone brought a different viewpoint, was resourceful and at times honestly opened up and shared their own strengths and weaknesses, which we all learned and benefitted from greatly. I was able to create and develop new, open, trusting relationships with fellow participants which importantly I have been able to maintain and benefit from.

Dan Shelley, Newcastle Hospitals

What is your current role?

I lead the team that is responsible for the procurement and supply of all goods and services used across the Trust, everything from pens and pencils to Hips, Knees and MRI scanners.

What are the key things you learned?

I have gained a great perspective on the numerous elements that come together to make up the system as well as an understanding of why change at a system level can be so difficult. Problems that at first appear insurmountable can, by working together across the wider system, be broken down to deliver real change. I have also learned that there is a huge amount of knowledge, passion and expertise across Newcastle and if we come together to tackle an issue as a system, far more is achievable.

What did you gain from doing the course with people from other organisations?

Working with people from the other anchor institutions, as well as the guest speakers, gave me a real chance to understand different perspectives on what is often the same issue. The course also allowed me to establish long lasting relationships with colleagues from across the patch, making future collaboration and problem solving much more likely.

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