NHS Change Day – An unmitigated success – Dr Damien Roland

Dr Damien Roland, Consultant and Lecturer of Paediatric Emergency Medicine, University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, on

Given the pressures of resource, expectation and scrutiny the NHS rarely gets a chance to be proud of itself.

This shouldn’t be the case but often staff can feel there is little light at the end of the media tunnel. But NHS Change Day has given many a chance to celebrate success in a way that isn’t glib or reactionary but positive and about improvement.

Launched in 2013, it has essentially become the biggest day of collective action for improvement in healthcare services in the history of the NHS.

NHS Change Day has given permission back, to everybody who works in or works with the NHS or receives care from it, to pledge to make a small or large change to their practice or just doing something a little different.

Pledges ranged from experiencing a patients point of view, to operating in a different role or to simply concentrating on that one activity that we know makes a difference to patient care. The public nature of the pledges allowed the world to know about the brilliant things pledgers were doing and the amazing ideas they had.

Change Day 2014 recorded over 800,000 pledges demonstrating that all health and care staff can be inspired to be change agents without the need for top-down centralised instruction, audit or rigid performance management.

The Change Day social movement didn’t just grow in numbers, it also grew in understanding and insight through learning, central support and sharing experience across all involved.


Dr Damien Roland is Consultant and Lecturer Paediatric Emergency Medicine, University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust.

He is one of the core team for NHS Change Day, which used social media to share thousands of pledges of action.

It was the biggest day of collective action for improvement in the history of the NHS and won a global challenge for management innovation prize from Harvard Business Review and McKinsey.

He was also named a top 50 innovator by the HSJ in 2013 and a rising star earlier this year.

Dr Roland is co-director of QuackApps, which produces bespoke mobile and website enabled products. These include the Paediatric Observation Priority Score, a checklist that demonstrates an acuity score (0-16) of acutely ill children using data that is easy to collect.

Dr Roland is also operational director of the Paediatric Emergency Medicine Leicester Academic Group, a social enterprise dedicated to improving the care of ill or injured children.

He also founded Running Horse Group, a network of paediatricians who are interested in learning the skills required to improve and develop services for children and young people.

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