In this piece, we hear from Andy Howlett, Director of Strategy – Community Diagnostic Centres at InHealth, about what a day in his life looks like.
1.What does your work day look like in terms of tasks, meetings, strategy setting?
A typical work day comprises a mixture of calls or face-to-face meetings with prospective NHS partners to discuss how InHealth can support the NHS to deliver new Community Diagnostic Centres and transform the way in which diagnostic services are delivered to patients, and internal discussions about responding to market opportunities, or mobilisation plans for new facilities.
- What are your areas of responsibility in your job role?
My role is to lead the company’s strategy to engage with and support the NHS to deliver on its stated aim of establishing 165 Community Diagnostic Centres across England, and similar discussions with agencies in the Devolved Administrations about community-based diagnostic services. I am also leading on the adoption of innovation into InHealth’s “business as usual”, including how we offer a population-based approach to improve the health and wellbeing of citizens, rather than just providing fast access to high-quality diagnostics when they are unwell.
- What has been your career path so far?
I joined the NHS via its graduate General Management Training Scheme and spent 26.5 years in the NHS prior to joining InHealth in March 2022. During that time I spent over 20 years in acute hospital operational management in 8 different NHS Trusts, followed by 5 years in National strategy and policy roles at NHS Improvement and NHS England working on clinical productivity and transformation of diagnostic services.
- What motivates you in your role?
I am motivated by helping to improve the quality of healthcare services available to the UK population and supporting the NHS to be as good as it can be. Our free at the point of care healthcare system is the most valued public service and one which we should ensure we invest in and continually improve. I enjoy the variety of my role – no day is the same – and the challenge of strategic thinking in the complex healthcare environment. I also thrive on working with the wide variety of high-calibre people in healthcare who are motivated by a desire to help people.
- How can we build on the lessons learned from the pandemic to help the diagnostics industry in the future?
The pandemic demonstrated that we should keep as much of healthcare service provision away from acute hospital sites, and close to the communities that use them. It also demonstrated how important it is to pay serious attention to the wellbeing of our people to value and retain them. The biggest single impact of the pandemic is raising awareness of the importance of diagnostics amongst citizens in general and making it socially acceptable to self-test and self-report results digitally into individual healthcare records – this opens up the market for point of care testing and huge potential for future innovation.
- What fuels you through the day – food and drink-wise?
I don’t function without a large coffee first thing in the morning! After that, regular cups of tea keep me going.