Pledging to change the NHS at Health and Care Innovation Expo

More than 320,000 pledges have poured in for NHS Change Day.

Delegates at the Health and Care Innovation Expo being staged at Manchester Central were encouraged to add their own pledges as Change Day was officially launched.

They helped push the total number of pledges to improve care for people towards the target of 500,000, joining the thousands of staff, patients and supporters of the NHS who have already made pledges in what is the largest display of collective action in the history of the NHS.

This is the second year Change Day has been staged, and the number of pledges of action has outstripped the 189,000 made in 2013 by individuals, teams and whole organisations.

The public have also been asked to take part by pledging to ensure they turn up for GP and hospital appointments – or to warn their doctor if they are unable to keep them – in an effort to address the problem of missed appointments which costs the NHS millions of pounds every year.

As thousands more pledges flooded in to the Change Day stand at Innovation Expo, Dr Damian Roland, senior paediatric registrar at University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust and one of the founders of NHS Change Day, said: “What started out as a simple discussion about how to improve the NHS from within, has become the biggest ever united healthcare movement for change.

“A simple grassroots idea has ignited a spark within the frontline. Hundreds of thousands of people – from those working in the NHS to those who use it and those who just value what it stands for – have been inspired to make a pledge.

“By doing so, they are demonstrating that individually and collectively they have the power to make a positive difference for patients and they are not afraid to use it.”

Pledges made for Change Day 2014 include:

  • A midwife so moved by the care experiences of her own deaf daughter that she has pledged to do all she can to get basic sign language included in nurse training.
  • A surgical team who have pledged to make sure every child waking after surgery is greeted in the recovery room by their favourite cuddly toy.
  • An NHS doctor who has pledged to spend an hour “collared and blocked” on a spinal board to understand how his patients feel.
  • A group of doctors finding out what it feels like to have a gastric nasal tube inserted.
  • A doctor living on a special renal diet for a week.

Helen Bevan, of NHS Improving Quality’s Horizons Group, explained: “Our frontline staff have made a fantastic contribution to inspiring other grassroots staff to make change happen at a local level.

“Anyone can make a pledge, and everyone is urged to embrace the energy of NHS Change Day and to ‘Pledge, Share, Do and Inspire’, to encourage the spread and adoption of improvement.”

Sir David Nicholson, NHS England’s Chief Executive, has made revolutionising wheelchair services his pledge of 2014 Change Day.

He explained: “My pledge is to bring together people across the country dedicated to improving services for people who use wheelchairs. Wheelchairs enable people to have full lives, and we need to revolutionise the way in which the NHS supports these people.”

Jane Cummings, NHS England’s Chief Nursing Officer, added: “I pledge to spend time with a district nurse and his or her team to understand the work they do and how integration can improve care for our patients.”