“The Ripple Effect”


“The Ripple Effect”

You may be wondering how, why and where the idea came from to establish the Health Summit in Cumbria next year. I know my family and friends certainly do! I guess it stems from a number of different experiences recently. Firstly my experience in Manchester where I witnessed collaboration like I’d never seen before. Inspirational work from colleagues like Roz Davies, Dr Ollie Hart, Dr Farhan Amin, Ingrid Brindle and Dr Amir Hannan to name a few. Then there was the recent Carlisle Ambassadors meeting where we witnessed the great businesses development taking place and the innovation of our social entrepreneurs in our region – Andy Fearon, Jason Gooding, Kate Wilson, Simon Harrison, Richard Wise, Michelle Masters and Fred Story. So many positives going on and so many more names we could mention. All doing great things to improve our society.

All this made me realise that there is an opportunity for us to work closer together. We see great development going on in our region, so our services will need to be innovative to keep up with demand. With all this investment coming to this region, we as a health and social care service will need to be innovative. Our resources are being stretched and expectations are rising. My thoughts were – how can we do something that helps us develop the region while maintaining and improving our health and social care system? The idea and mechanism was to host a health summit that’s patient led. Benefits for the locality are that we will bring patients, clinicians and other members of our community together to exchange knowledge.

The knock on effect is that we have the opportunity to showcase our region to our friends and colleagues while building new partnerships – it’s a win, win for the region and us as a society. We live in an inspiring region, a region that fosters innovation in the workplace while providing an excellent place to live. With it’s warm and friendly people along with the inspiring natural scenery, Cumbria is the ideal place to bring up a family. It’s the reason we came to Cumbria.


We can prepare for the next generation, how we act today will impact on their future. Cumbria is our home, we decided just over 2 years ago that this region was the place for us to bring up our family. We see the benefits every day as our daughter Mia is thriving here. I’m not knocking big city living, as I’m from that environment and it’s my home, but there are positives to working and living in both scenarios. I guess it comes down to taking a chance, to a certain degree, to follow your dreams. That’s what we did. We’re not quite there yet but we’re getting closer every day. We absolutely love this region and it’s people. There’s a warmth here like no other. Trust me, I know warmth as I’m an Irish man!


The above is a photo I use regularly to explain the opportunity we have – you may be wondering what I mean by opportunity as it’s a picture of the Titanic and the Titanic sank! My analogy is that it was a superbly built boat that inspired people. Very much like our health service – a thing of beauty. We are so lucky to have the best staff and health service in the world. I have no bones about saying that because I see the commitment of my colleagues ever day to deliver quality care. However we do need to change as it is not sustainable on it’s current course. But here is the opportunity and hence the idea behind the summit. The NHS 5 year forward view is leading the way and we want to support. We can be innovative in order to avoid a Titanic situation occurring with our health service – luckily we have the people and the vision to ensure we don’t follow that path. Social media is our platform and it gives us the opportunity to reach our patients and the wider community like never before. It’s innovation in its simplest form. A simple communication tool that we can use to help us improve quality patient care. Just think how powerful it is – we had an idea to put a summit on next year. We sent a tweet and in less than a month we have 20 local, national and international speakers confirmed with 200 people registered and a waiting list established. Our Facebook and twitter feeds are just a few weeks old and are growing every day. This platform gives us the opportunity to establish new partnerships that can improve patient care in the health and social care environment. Hence the reason behind hosting a patient led event in Cumbria – very much in keeping with the NHS England vision.

We can build on the great work already done by our public service to improve quality health and social care. We see the great work our local NHS Trust’s do along with our City and County Councils, they are always working hard to maintain and provide improved services for our communities. Our University is evolving and it will be key to the success of the region. Local businesses are doing their part to help the region develop. We’ve see great initiatives such as the Carlisle Ambassadors locally, and others throughout the region, by our business community to inspire our communities to work together so we all benefit. It promotes social entrepreneurs and that’s a positive. Collaboration at it’s best.


The health service, like other areas in our society, is constantly challenged. Patient led health care is our passion and always will be. We’ve learned through our experiences with patients that no matter what the diagnosis is that they want the same as what we all want, which is honesty from us as their service providers. It’s not complex – it’s quite simple. Put yourselves in their shoes. What would you expect?

The majority of the time we get it right and our patients are grateful – just the other day we received a kind donation from a family in Workington who had sent a cheque into the District Nursing office expressing their gratitude for the job the staff had done. You unfortunately rarely hear about those kind of stories though. They happen every day and have such a positive impact on the work we do. Be positive as positivity spreads.

Our staff are amazing and do a fantastic job – a simple thank you can go a long way. We’re proud to serve our patients, it’s our job. We do get it wrong sometimes – it’s not all rosey, we are human and humans make mistakes. Trust is so important in health as it is in life. If we are open and admit our mistakes we will reduce litigation and build greater trust with our communities. When situations like this arise let’s work together to find solutions.

We have the opportunity to help each other and the next generation. To build a future that’s sustainable for our children & their children. Survival is in our nature and we can only achieve this by working together. We are now in a time where many people suffer daily with things we take for granted like finding food, water and clothing. We need leadership that shows that “Together, We inspire” – social entrepreneurs. We can and will be able to work together to improve health and social care.

Why are we not collaborating more? It’s a question we always ask. It sounds easy but in practice we struggle to do it effectively. It’s certainly not from the lack of trying as we have so many good people working hard every day for the greater good who work together successfully. Great work is done that sometimes goes unnoticed as outlined above. Why is that? We seem to be concerned with the negative news. Why not promote the positive news? We have so many examples of it every day. Simple things that we do so well. You will find that random acts of kindness that help save lives every day are not reported on. These are all inspiring things we do that lead to more inspiration and hope. We have the opportunity now through social media to inspire each other through partnerships so let’s use these fantastic new innovative tools to inspire social entrepreneurs. We can go fast if we go alone but when we work together we not only go far but we are stronger. It’s like a stick that is easily broken on its own. But when we have a group of sticks together you won’t break them. It’s more of this attitude that we hope to see at the World Health Innovation Summit in Carlisle, Cumbria 11th/12th March 2016. So let’s be positive and ripple. 🙂


What can we do? We can be innovative in our approach to how we work together. Become more open and share our ideas to improve how we as a community wish to live. A few years back I was at a conference in Paris and had an evening meal with a good colleague and friend of mine who explained to me that when you look at things all around you and appreciate the moment and your surroundings you soon feel the energy that is all around you. To be honest I saw it that evening, but soon after I lost sight of it. However in the last few months I’ve managed to see exactly what he meant. There is great energy out there and you can tap into that anywhere, but where the real energy comes from is people. Good people do good things and thankfully we have plenty of good people. When you feel that energy you can aspire to achieve great things. When we work together as a team we can achieve anything. There is no limit to what we can do. Health and Social care is in a difficult place and we would be kidding ourselves by saying otherwise. We all know it will be a challenge but if we work together we can improve quality patient care. The key will be in innovative partnerships – new ways of working together. Everyone at some point in their life will need a health service. Let’s work together – patients, clinicians, managers, voluntary sector, education and businesses. As, after all, we as humans need each other to survive.

We would like to take this opportunity to just say thank you to everyone who has supported us and we look forward to building on that partnership in the future. This is a summit for all – we can work together to inspire each other.

“Together, We Inspire” 


*The opinions expressed are the bloggers own and do not necessarily reflect the views of the World Health Innovation Summit.



4 thoughts on ““The Ripple Effect”

  1. Gareth, this is fantastic. Really inspired me this morning, and got me thinking more about how we can help to support and share your aims with Carlisle Ambassadors. Great article, and something that should be seen by all who care about the future of health in UK as well as more locally in Carlisle and Cumbria. Speak soon


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