I started at HSMC in September 1979 as a fresh faced young engineer straight from the metal bashing industry to join John Yates and Loran Vickerstaff on their research project. There was no space for me in their tiny office at the top of the building, so I spent the first few weeks amongst the packing cases in what became Room 50!
I was to bring some statistical expertise to their efforts and I certainly spent a lot of time analysing data. In those days, pre personal computers, it meant daily treks across to the University Computer Centre working with punched cards and teletypes.
The end result of all that was the first national comparative indicators for the NHS using computer generated graphics, a not inconsiderable achievement given the state of technology at the time. We eventually moved on from simply presenting data to using it to tackle long inpatient waits amongst other things.
And it was as a result of that work that I was seconded to the National Patients' Access Team in 1998 and finally left John and colleagues in 2001 to become Analysis Director for the NHS Modernisation Agency. Since then I have stayed with the improvement theme and after a brief sojourn in Leeds, currently divide my time between the NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement and the 1000 Lives Plus programme in NHS Wales.
Nineteen years spent in one place leaves many memories so I will restrict myself to some unusual highlights. There was the (in)famous cricket match which took place at Powick Hospital with notable contributions from Peter Spurgeon and Tony Cook, and Derek Williams dropping a catch off my bowling! There was Mike Harley and I putting out a hedge fire using the fire extinguisher from the hall and there was also the logistic feat of moving Penny Mullen's office from one room to another. It took 3 of us 2 whole days. Now you don't get to do that every day!