Weeknote 28th April

Rochelle Gold
2 min readMay 20, 2023

What did I do to make a difference this week

Out interim portfolio allocations were confirmed for the heads of design, user research and content so we know which areas of the business we are going to support over the next 3 months. I had a good think about the different areas and was given my first choice. I’ve worked across most of the areas and specifically chose a health professional facing one as this is where I think there is the most work to do and one that is from a UCD perspective, the poor relation of the public facing ones. If we don’t deliver for health professionals, then we won’t deliver for patients. We need to focus on the practitioner side and start solving those problems rather than putting sticking plasters over the patient side that cover up the mess behind.

I spent two days in the office with all but one of the heads of ucd, co located at the same bank of desks in the same office for the first time which lead to lots of firing off each others brains with thoughts. Whilst vitual is good, the bounce from being physically co located can’t be replicated. It felt familiar yet unfamiliar, a throwback from times of old pre covid, even though half of the people were not colleagues pre covid. Essentially it was good and we need to do more.

I caught up with Tero about some strategic planning we are doing and with a behavioural science colleague to get into the details of areas to collaborate and how to do it. I also met with colleagues in wider NHSE to provide some advice and support on some issues they were having in working to the service standard. Feedback from that meeting is that I left the team buzzing, reassured and I really helped. It was just 1 hour out of my day to have a conversation but has probably helped to unblock a significant barrier to that teams work.

What I need to do more of to make a difference

I need to try to figure out how I balance being in the office more, whilst looking after me, still doing my regular runs and also still being able to see my children before school. A colleague mentioned how cycling in means that they only manage to exercise because they come into the office and it got me thinking on whether I could feasibly run into work — I don’t want to run home as it is all up hill on the way back and I know I will just hop on the bus instead. There is also something about the benefits to me of exercising before work.

I also need to make sure that amongst everything going on I continue to develop myself.

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Rochelle Gold

Head of User Research and User Centred Design @NHS England (formerly NHS Digital). Views my own.