We’ve nearly reached the end of 2023, arguably the first ‘normal’ year since the pandemic began in 2020.
And, as I sit back and reflect on the last 12 months, it’s safe to say it’s been something of a mixed picture for the healthcare sector.
While the NHS has started its post-Covid recovery, waiting lists have hit record highs, industrial action has ramped up and trusts have been urged to control their costs.
On the upside, we’ve finally seen the release of the NHS’s long-term workforce plan, celebrated the organisation’s 75th birthday and witnessed good progress on the NHS’s path towards net zero.
From a company perspective, while there have been challenges, it’s been a brilliant year of growth, new opportunities and communicating Acumentice’s presence and value to a much wider audience.
Here, I look back at the highlights of 2023 and look ahead to what 2024 might bring!
New faces galore
One of the most pleasing aspects of the last year has been the growth we’ve seen within our team. We’ve gone from a team of 8 at the beginning of the year to a team of 14 now. This has included the expansion of our marketing department, the hiring of a new Product Executive to drive our product offering forward, and plenty of additional NHS experience to our consultancy team.
It’s been an absolute pleasure to see the team become ever bigger and ever more dynamic, with a vast range of skills and experience for us to now call upon in a whole number of areas. To think, as recently as the beginning of 2022, we were still a team of only 3!
Every new team member has settled in fantastically, fully engaged into our culture, values and ethos – and helped by our slick and ever-improving onboarding process.
It’s also meant an increase in team socials and our first ever team away day – which was a fantastic success. For anyone looking for a team-bonding exercise, I’d heartily recommend human sheep herding. Much more fun than it sounds!
This is just the start, though – we are looking to continue our growth in 2024. But, importantly, in an organic way and with our culture and values in no way compromised.
A greener and more sustainable company
2023 has also been a year where we’ve ramped up our CSR and sustainability activities – again, a real team achievement. Below are some of the main highlights:
· Achieving membership of the Good Business Charter and starting our journey towards B Corp certification
· Retaining and achieving various ISO accreditations including ISO 14001 for the first time
· Introducing a cycle to work and electric car scheme
· Holding our first ever fundraising event for the NHS’s Big Tea, raising more than £1,000!
· Inviting various students from Imperial College London to join us in the office as part of the uni’s Work Shadowing Scheme
We aim to go even further next year – with a number of our team already signed up for the Hackney Half in May (raising money for our charity partner, NHS Charities Together), talk of a team volunteer day, ongoing work to achieve B Corp and plans in motion to measure our company emissions more effectively.
We are also working towards our net zero goals, inpreparation for the next stages of the NHS’s net zero roadmap for suppliers.
Raising our profile
We have made great strides in 2023 in getting the Acumentice brand name (and our service offerings) out there to a wider audience – to become one of the go-to health consultancies and to make a real virtue of our in-house NHS expertise.
We have achieved that, and then some, this year, with an increased presence on LinkedIn and X (formerly Twitter), my own appearance on London Live discussing our Future of Healthcare survey (something I’d rather not revisit too much!) and our consultants speaking at various Westminster Health Forum events.
We have also had a presence at a number of events – from the recent NHS Providers conference to NHS Confed and the HSJ Data & Analytics forum. A great way of both increasing the exposure of the Acumentice brand, as well as networking with like-minded individuals and getting to hear some excellent, insightful keynote speeches.
We look forward to attending more events next year – and maybe even hosting a few of our own (watch this space!).
A brand-new website
In line with the above, we have sought to reflect our growth as a company – and our refreshed values, vision and brand colours - with an excellent, slick new website (the very website you are reading this blog on, in fact!)
A big thanks to the marketing team for leading on this project, and to our web developers for turning our vision into reality.
2024 promises to be another interesting year for the NHS, with waiting lists forecast to rise again and more financial pressures on the NHS. It is very likely there will be a general election next year, with Labour hotly tipped to form the next government, but it will be fascinating to see what each of the major parties has to say about health in their manifestos.
In the meantime, Victoria Atkins, the recently appointed Health Secretary, will have quite a hefty in-tray – solving the pay disputes should be towards the top of her agenda, along with implementing the long-term workforce plan.
It will be interesting to see whether Rishi Sunak’s pledge to cut waiting lists, one of his five key priorities, will continue to receive prominence or whether it will be quietly shelved – especially if the numbers, as expected, continue to rise.
That doesn’t negate the need for action – for a joined-up, targeted, data-led approach to clearing the backlog.
As ever, our goal will be to create and sustain a healthier NHS for everyone, providing a sustainable legacy in any work we do. We are particularly looking forward to developing our products to the next stage and launching our own series of webinars on mental health. Keep your eyes peeled for that.
All that’s left for me to do is wish everyone, on behalf of the Acumentice team, a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year. Here’s to a fantastic 2024!