I first connected with HSMC in the early 1980’s when appointed as Management Development Adviser to Shropshire Health Authority and Chairman of the Midlands NAHSPO Branch, so often used the “deity” at HSMC to speak at Regional meetings and conferences and help with local Shropshire based activity. So, thanks to people like Peter Spurgeon, Chris Ham, David Thompson, Mike Tremblay, John Clark, John Yates and the always best value Professor Derek Williams; who whilst helping in the tasks at hand also helped me form my approach to modernise Management Development, Change Management and wider Human Resource Strategy in my part of the NHS and aided my contribution to the National scene.
In 1988 I was invited to become an HSMC Associate and, with David Thompson, and the inimitable Hugh Flanagan, in the late 80’s and throughout the 1990’s forged a number of new HSMC Management Development programmes for the NHS market, first of all under Peter Spurgeon’s leadership and latterly Chris Ham’s. My first venture in 1988 was as contributor to David and Hugh’s Management Development Advisors Programme and later (when I became part of the University cost-centre system) went solo in January 1995 on designing and running my first HSMC Day-Conference “People – Our Biggest Investment”. In the early 1990’s I launched and managed, with Geraldine Martin, the first English University based MESOL Programme using the then new Open University Managing Health Services Certificate Programme as a basis for its content which ran for many years with considerable success. Building on this success, I was asked to design a Diploma Programme for junior and middle NHS Managers also built around the national guidelines set down in the then extended MESOL Project. I still recall attending Birmingham University’s formal meeting to consider and approve of its design features, and I still have all of my handwritten schematic plans of the programme content !! I was privileged to become an HSMC Visiting Fellow and contribute to many other programmes and conferences where my local NHS, National profile and HSMC position could assist. I have always hoped my entire contribution to HSMC work led, in a small way, to better and improved NHS Management performance, for the benefit of the individuals who took part in various programmes, but more so for the benefit of the NHS and the services it provides. Of course, one should never forget the social side of HSMC and I recall with some humour our attempt at indoor "pub-bowls" to cement relationships of all, on a windy and rainy night "somewhere on the outskirts of the city" - who says academics have no fun !!
With the advent of NHS Trusts in the mid 1990’s and my appointment as Executive Director, my HSMC days diminished. I left Shrewsbury NHS Trust in 2000 and, as the new Millennium dawned, entered the world of Consultancy. I had 10 amazing years and was able to contribute to Change Management and HR Strategy across the UK (and Isle Of Man !!). I am now retired BUT as I explain to many who ask - physically BUT not mentally – I still retain a keen interest in NHS politics and management. What strikes me most of the time is how things change BUT remain the same – however 40 years on HSMC appears still at the leading edge of thinking, thank goodness for its corporate memory as Politicians come and go.
I was always grateful for the flexibility offered by my employer to work part time at HSMC; it opened many doors and, it has to be said, HSMC opened my mind and made me a more rounded contributor. As Executive Director and latterly Change Management & HR Strategy Specialist I have always considered HSMC, more specifically the people within it in all positions academic and the fabulous support staff, helped me form a more “thoughtful and intellectual” approach, which has helped me forge a “third career” over the past decade. I will now return to my landscape photography and my blossoming autobiography, being written for the edification of my grandchildren.