10 Questions with... Dr. Linda Harris
Each issue we ask an industry professional the Tomorrow’s Care 10 Questions. This month, we had a chat with Dr. Linda Harris, Chief Executive at Spectrum Community Health CIC.
HOW DID YOU GET INTO THE CARE INDUSTRY? I trained at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel and took a great interest in health inequalities and diversity.
Aſter a couple of years training as a GP in London’s East End, I then transferred to Pontefract and became a GP in the ex-mining communities of the Wakefield District, just before the heroin epidemic of the late 80s and early 90s. From then, I developed a special interest in substance misuse and homelessness which, in turn, led to an interest in health and justice.
headroom to take stock. The levels and layers of assurance as we deliver increasingly at scale are also considerable, and I hope they don’t overwhelm and depower the parts of the care system looking to deliver and transform.
There also seems to be a real challenge to ensure you can ‘feel’ the ‘human touch of care’ when using and adopting more and more technology.
WHO, IN ANY OTHER INDUSTRY, DO YOU MOST ADMIRE? Social entrepreneur and green campaigner, Sir Tim Smit. As
founding MD, he designed and built the original concept for The Eden Project – an educational charity in Cornwall, UK.
HOW DO YOU THINK THE CARE SECTOR COULD BE IMPROVED?
Being aware that care is constantly changing and the contract between the patient and their care/service is changing, we need to capitalise and be careful to manage any unintended consequences of healthcare transformation. We also need to be relentless to commitment to fostering kind and compassionate leadership in the sector.
IF YOU COULD HAVE ANY SUPERPOWER FOR A DAY WHAT WOULD IT BE?
I’m tempted to say the cloak of invisibility although it would be great to be a fly on the wall and understand what people are feeling and saying. I’d also love to have the power of amazing memory so that I could draw on all the knowledge and experience I have ever had, to be able to help inform the delivery and models of care so they are always drawn on and based on all the best evidence.
WHAT IS THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE FACING THE CARE INDUSTRY TODAY?
The pace of change and people and places not being given the - 44 -
IF YOU COULD HAVE A DINNER PARTY WITH ANY THREE PEOPLE, DEAD OR ALIVE, WHO WOULD IT BE?
Room for one more?
The Queen, of course; Cressida Dick, the head of the Metropolitan Police; Brenda Blethyn, because I absolutely adore her TV character Vera; and Neil Tenant of the Pet Shop Boys.
WHAT IS THE BEST ADVICE YOU COULD GIVE TO SOMEONE NEW COMING INTO THE CARE PROFESSION?
Remain curious about what underpins a fantastic experience of care so you can aspire to replicate those circumstances as much as possible. All patient feedback is important and actively seek it out, good and/or bad, so you can be responsive.
WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE IN A FUTURE ISSUE OF TOMORROW’S CARE?
Something linked to workforce – perhaps an interview with a person just entering the care profession and someone about to retire. Ask them what they think and feel about the latest innovations in care for patients and the implications for their role and career development
WHAT DO YOU THINK THE FUTURE HOLDS FOR THE CARE SECTOR?
Greater integration, more blended roles, more opportunities for training with colleagues from a variety of different agencies and professions. Hopefully, it will maintain its rising reputation and respect from the public gained as a result of the pandemic and the amazing efforts of staff.
ROB FINNEY, CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER, TRISTONE HEALTHCARE, ASKED: WHAT DIFFERENT WAYS DO YOU
THINK THAT SERVICES COULD BE COMMISSIONED FROM LOCAL AUTHORITIES THAT WOULD GIVE RISE TO BETTER QUALITY AND VALUE FOR MONEY? Continuing to shift toward measuring services and suppliers on the social value they will bring. Once commissioned, it would be good for those of us keen to bring social value into local economies to be able to connect and collaborate, for example, around topics such as reducing carbon footprint and procuring training.
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