If it's Friday it must be Taunton

In industry, teams get together routinely to think and plan, and organisations have structures that support approach. We took the IBD Registry on the road to give NHS teams the same space and thinking time together.

The Dovetail team have been on the road, helping IBD clinical teams to get to grips with national plans to change the way they measure the care they give their patients. A shift in NHS England’s priorities means moving from a highly impactful programme of national audit, with teams submitting data once a year, to a system based on the ongoing collection of routine clinical data using the IBD Registry instead. This is a major culture change at a time when many services in the NHS are feeling the strain. As one clinical nurse specialist recently said to me: ‘snowed under doesn’t begin to describe it!’

When I worked in pharma we had regional meetings every six weeks or so. They’re a brilliant way to share challenges and build solutions together. They’re an ideal place to get to know people and share top tips over a nice cup of tea and a sticky bun.

If it’s well run, you leave a regional meeting with a sense of belonging and purpose. And – crucially – clarity about what you’re trying to do and what you need to do next.

Different bits of the country also have different things going on: Wales is not the same as London, so holding a local meeting that allows people the space and time to think about what’s relevant to their patch is really useful.

And that’s the precious bit – time. One of the most common answers our delegates give to the question what were the best things about this meeting? is time with the team. Protected time with your team to focus on what you want your service to be like and think about what you need to do to make it happen. How do you want your patients to feel? What words do you want them to use when they’re talking about your service?

I think that those of us who have worked in industry sometimes take for granted that we have time to think and plan, and structures that support and encourage that way of working

Thanks to generous funding from a number of good people in pharma companies working in IBD, we’ve been able to use standard industry practice to support change in clinical practice. And with a bit of space, time and structure, who knows what they can achieve?