Anyone can be a leader

A (big) tribute to Helen Calvert

In our #MatExp #WhoseShoes work, the thing that excites me the most is the way parents come forward as leaders, passionate about making changes so that others have a better experience of specific aspects of health care than they did.

The work of Helen Calvert @heartmummy has taken me on several trips to Alder Hey hospital in Liverpool where her younger son underwent heart surgery. Helen has campaigned tirelessly for better support with breastfeeding in neonatal and paediatric settings.

Helen introduced me to Joanne Minford, a wonderful paediatrician at Alder Hey who shares this passion, and indeed for improving all things neonatal !

Helen and Jo are both #MatExp leaders (Story by #FabObs Flo @FWmaternity.)

This is one of my favourite slides I like using in my presentations. Helen, Catherine, Emma Jane and Leigh are amongst our most successful #MatExp ‘women leader’ change agents! 👏🏽

In #MatExp we have a lot of fun, but we also cut through lots of ‘stuff’. In fact we get lots of stuff done! We are building a global change platform out of lemons! But that’s another story – literally.

Helen did amazing things like instigate #MatExp on tour. We never thought that the tour would take us to so many places - and draw in so many people!

Helen and Jo have each earned full strength #JFDI awards! 🏆 🏆

Helen was instrumental in bringing about a Whose Shoes workshop in her local hospital in Manchester.

Our #hellomynameis poem was read by a close friend of Dr Kate Granger! You will never be forgotten, lovely Kate! 💜

Our youngest ever participant – just four days old! 💜👶🏼💜

Never too young to have a voice!

This in turn led to a more recent workshop, within the same Trust. at Royal Oldham hospital. Constantly bringing in new people, new ideas, new solutions. This is what #MatExp #WhoseShoes is all about.

So back to Alder Hey... 😉

Innovation hub - how appropriate! We were using the new ‘Nobody’s Patient’ scenarios and poems, exploring how women and families can fall through gaps between maternity & neonatal care

What can we do to ensure that nobody, ever, feels like they are ‘Nobody’s Patient’? Through NHS England’s Maternity Challenge Fund, we have crowdsourced 124 new ‘Whose Shoes’ scenarios and poems, which are now in 40 hospitals. Alder Hey are one of the very first to explore these.

I gave Jo some extra scenarios specific to hospital breastfeeding that Helen had helped develop.

It was lovely not only to meet but to have a proper chat with Louise Shepherd, the Chief Executive. Jo and her colleagues at Alder Hey are lucky to have a CEO who really ‘gets’ it and is prepared to spend time and energy in real patient engagement – both with the children and their parents.

Louise introduced our session and I was thrilled to hear what a central part the children (the ‘patients’) had played in designing the new hospital. Not just ‘consulted’, but leading the way!

Soon the discussions were in full swing!

And Carrie, our fabulous graphic illustrator from New Possibilities, started recording the key issues.

Wearing her special shoes that she keeps for Whose Shoes workshops! 😂

I always love hearing people reading the poems…

Especially the powerful ‘Theoretical Mummy’ poem inspired by Helen Calvert.

Some well earned cakes! Our #MatExp #bakeoff Is a big part of creating the relaxed conditions for open, relaxed discussions at Whose Shoes events! 🍰 🎂

The post-it notes were flooding through to Carrie and she was doing a great job making sense of them all

Listening to parents. The importance of building rapport and instilling confidence.

Language: let’s make it human! Always!

I particularly liked this message. We talk a lot about appropriate words – but sometimes just knowing that people care is enough.

Carrie was making the final touches!

The pressures of a busy hospital are always apparent

Soon it was time for Carrie to give her feedback. A wonderful summary of the key conversations so far.

Carrie asked people if anything was missing from her graphic record. Jen said ‘Excitement’ and Carrie added it just as the CQC inspectors arrived. Honestly, you couldn’t make this stuff up! 😉

“We can make a difference. We do great things now. But we can do better things!” 💜

This is a constant theme of our workshops. Fix the simple things- small things make s difference.

What a great idea! A Wish List! Nothing is off-limits. There are lots of small things that people can do straight away… and other things to aspire to!

People threw themselves into making pledges and were very happy to share them with everyone in the room. This is exciting! 💥

Carol took some pictures to tweet about the “ Wall of awesomeness” 😀

Our ‘toolkit’ booklet is full of ‘lemon lightbulb’ ideas ... Lots of ways to use the Whose Shoes scenarios and poems in creative ways and some great contacts in other hospitals who are already doing this.

And I can’t think of anyone better than Jo to lead this at Alder Hey. 😀

I grabbed a cup coffee on the way home… and thought of Helen @heartmummy. Thank you Helen for being the catalyst for this fabulous work ... which is only just beginning!

And, Sorry! I never got a chance to call in and meet the Honeysuckle team! Next time! I love working with Alder Hey! 😘

But, thanks to Carol, I did get the chance to wander around a virtual heart! Extraordinary. Be proud of our wonderful NHS!

#MatExp “No hierarchy, just people”