Five Minutes With… Steve Parnell

26 Aug 2021

Today we are speaking to Steve Parnell who has been with Develop Consulting for 10 months.

Tell us a little bit about your background and where has your skillset in healthcare developed from?

Having spent nearly 20 years in the military, I decided to move into engineering management within manufacturing.

After just two weeks I was enrolled on a Lean manufacturing course lead by Dan Jones (co author of Lean Thinking) and his team from Cardiff University. That was it! I had caught the improvement bug. I have worked in improvement roles with some well know companies including Typhoo tea and Jacobs.

In 2009 I made the leap into healthcare working in the improvement team for three years. I then moved to Australia working with the KM&T team as a consultant. I worked mainly in the healthcare team, but also gained experience in mining and rail. Whilst in Australia I was recruited into Queensland Health where I again took up a position in the executive team leading transformation.

After moving back to the UK after nearly seven years, I worked in Wales at Cardiff and Vale Health Board for a couple of years as Assistant Director for Improvement before joining Develop Consulting.

You have travelled around the world! Tell us more about those experiences and who you worked with.

I have seen and worked in healthcare systems in the UK, Australia and New Zealand. It is encouraging to see that the NHS is still held in high esteem. In Australia and New Zealand, the funding models are different, but essentially, they are based on NHS principles. There is a great deal of sharing of knowledge, experience and staff across these and other nations. In every location I have worked, there has been a core of very dedicated and professional staff, with patient care at the centre of everything they do. That is not to say there is no room for continual improvement! I was lucky enough to visit the Canterbury health Board in Christchurch NZ, whilst working at Cardiff. They talk about the whole health system and have done some amazing work focusing on patient centric care.

Returning to England, you have then joined the DC Team. Tell us more about the role you are doing now?

Initially I was part of the PGP Quick Start team, delivering improvement support GP practices around the country at a time when they were really struggling with the pandemic. This is a great programme and I found the practices I worked with were really engaged and eager to make positive changes.

My main experience is in the acute or secondary care setting, essentially hospitals. Since April I have been working with Nobles Hospital on the Isle of Man. The project is centred around underpinning safety in the operating theatres and will lead onto productivity/performance in the second phase.

Why is it so important you are able to share your expertise with acute care?

Although it is accepted in healthcare that improvement science can help in many ways e.g., patient safety, productivity, reducing all forms of waste, in the main, improvers in healthcare have only known healthcare. I believe I can bring experience from a number of sectors, which helps gives a different perspective and to help people think differently. I can challenge the current thinking and give examples that can work in healthcare from a variety of settings.

And where do you see the next 6 – 12 months heading with secondary care?

We know that secondary care is facing a number of challenges around the numbers on waiting lists, aging population etc. During the pandemic operations and clinics were cancelled and the lists grew. This is the key challenge now and improvement science is one of the key things that can help with this.

Develop Consulting has a great deal of experience helping secondary care organisations to become more effective and dare I say more efficient, thereby reducing waiting lists and helping to improve patient outcomes. We can help by focusing across whole pathways to improve flow through the entire system. This is a challenge I really look forward to helping with. After all, I am a customer of the NHS!

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