Riding the wave of change

Healthcare continues to change and evolve to meet the needs of our populations say CSP professional advisers Clare Aldridge and Rachael Wadlow

Waves of change

The healthcare landscape is changing across sectors. Be it the push for digital innovation, a shift to community-based services or the growing needs of service users, change is inevitable now more than ever. But how does the prospect of change make you feel? Are you a leader pushing for innovation and improvement? Are you a collaborator, embracing change and striving for the best it can be? 

Or are you a passenger who prefers to let change wash over you? Change can be inspiring and motivating yet challenging, and potentially difficult to cope with, meaning it can have both positive and negative impacts. 

In the words of Socrates, ‘the secret of change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new’. So, what can you do to effectively ride that wave of change to achieve a more positive outcome for your service, your team, and yourself?  

Getting ahead of the wave 

‘Seek first to understand, to then be understood’ – Stephen R Covey 

Change is more than focussing on the outcome. Sometimes we know change is afoot and there is the temptation to just let it happen, regardless of how it makes you feel or what you think about it. If you know a change is coming, being more active in the process can help you feel more in control. Regardless of role, look for opportunities to get involved and have your voice heard. Ask questions to fully understand what’s happening and how. Get different perspectives and understand the levers for change. There may be potential benefits, and pitfalls, for the service and for you as an individual that you hadn’t considered, but that you can influence and shape.  

Member perspective 

Emma Stuttard is a band 6 physiotherapist at Central Cheshire Integrated Care Partnership whose service has implemented NHSE’s two-hour crisis response guidance. 

‘I knew the guidance was mandated by March 2022 and my service, and my job, would be affected. So, when I had the opportunity to attend an open forum in the planning stages, I jumped at the chance.

‘I asked questions and felt confident putting my ideas forwards in this safe space. There weren’t always answers, which could cause anxiety, but it helped me understand the bigger picture and opened lines of communication, which has paid dividends in the long run.

I worked closely with our CSP representative who provided additional support and reassurance that the right procedures were being followed’.

The two-hour response service is now operating and Emma added: ‘I feel my proactive approach to this change helped me to secure a band 7 team lead post.’ 

Find a strategy that works for you 

It’s human nature to worry about matters we cannot control, therefore expending energy unproductively. Finding strategies to support yourself through change can be reassuring and empowering. The Circle of Influence helps us map what’s within our influence, therefore guiding us how to respond to change proactively.  

A factsheet from the Development Partnership showing how to use the Circle of Influence.

Expand your circle of influence

  • You’re not facing change alone. A group can have a wider circle of influence. If you need help finding suitable group support try the CSP iCSP and ask for advice and support.
  • Learn from the experiences of others to develop insight and maintain proactive focus. The CSP mentoring platform offers members support via an online hub. 
  • Reflect, share and inspire others. Use the CSP Innovations Database to inform your thinking and find out how others have been innovative in the face of change. 

If you are employed by an organisation 

Your employer is obliged to consult you about changes that effect your work. This is your opportunity to shape proposed changes. You should always work with your local CSP steward or health and safety rep and expect to see a risk assessment as well as an equality impact assessment undertaken on the proposed change. 

The manner in which you are consulted should always be in line with your employer’s managing change policy. 

Your manager should provide information setting out why change is required, its potential impacts and listen to your thoughts on whether the proposal will work, answer any questions you raise, and give consideration to any alternative proposals you may provide as part of the consultation. 

If you do not have a local steward, contact CSP enquiries to request support (enquiries@csp.org.uk)

What will your action plan be to prepare for change? 

The CSP’s Professional Advice Service gives advice and support to members on complex and specialist enquiries about physiotherapy practice, including professional practice issues, standards, values and behaviours, international working, service design and commissioning, and policy in practice. 

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