A different kind of wellbeing and healthcare is possible where people, ecosystems and businesses thrive. Its arrival depends on a new generation of imaginative, brave and compassionate systems leaders who join the dots that others can’t see. They are need to grow fast and strong. This is how.
Healthcare professionals tell us that the health service has become an illness management service, over-focused on dealing with the consequences of badly designed work, wellbeing and social systems.
Prior to Covid-19, the UK’s health systems were already creaking as increasing demand from an ageing, under-active, poorly eating population stretched the capability of leaders with limited budgets and too much already to do.
Physical and mental wellbeing is compromised by the degradation of the natural systems, air and water and climate stability on which our species’ wellbeing depends. The consequences of that show up as 60,000 early deaths from poor air quality, rivers too dirty to swim in and plastic pollution spread from oceanic deep to mountain peaks.
In Wales alone, the gross cost of mental health is £7.2b a year, slightly greater than the revenue of all Welsh farms. The gross cost of Type II diabetes alone is £1b a year, and the direct cost of physical inactivity a further £600m a year.
It’s not a shortage of money that’s the problem, but a lack of that imagination that helps folk connect problems and solutions across different sectors. The Future Generations Practitioner programme has been created to directly address that.
A group of experiential learning and medical specialists are collaborating to create a life-changing programme that will grow a generation of Future Generations Practitioners with an unshakeable confidence in their ability to reconnect the health of nature, ecosystems and humanity.
Cohorts of 12–18-year olds are now able to learn and grow together from the moment they decide they want to work in wellbeing. They’ll be supported, coached and inspired with weekly online teaching and action learning missions, hacks and post-Covid with residential weekends and summer camps.
Future Generations Practitioners (FGPs) will be mentored by Professors, Clinical and Innovation Directors, Senior Nurses, dieticians, ecologists, psychologists, nutritionists and outdoor professionals on a programme experiential learning to prepare them for systems leadership in a changing world.
FGPs will grow a combination of technical knowledge around Planetary Health, physical and mental wellbeing, climate, ecosystems and physiology. As well as practical skills of design thinking, creative problem solving, leadership, collaboration, debating and communication that give them the ability to connect problems and solutions.
Each year, FGPs will be taking part in hacks and sprints to wrestle with real-world challenges set by health boards, farmers, Public Health and progressive businesses around questions such as “What’s the role of health professionals in creating a food system that’s optimised for wellbeing?” or “How would you design and deliver a programme to ensure food and environmental literacy for every child in the country?” FGPs will be coached on their sprints by TYF’s coaches and a network of local and regional specialists from health, wellbeing and business sectors.
Across the UK there are around a quarter of a million 12 to 18-year olds who will go on to work as doctors or nurses; many more will work in allied professions. Across Wales, where TYF are based, there are 10,000 or so in the same position.
In November 2020, TYF will start delivery of the first two months of the Future Generations Practitioner programme for a group of 50 students who will work with us to shape the content and their own learning. In January 2021 the doors will open for enrolment with a funding framework that’ll ensure that not a single child who has the desire and capability to make magic happen in the world of wellbeing is excluded.
Future Generations Practitioners will be supported on their learning by existing health professionals. These will include i) a network of a 23 to 30-year old healthcare system professionals growing their own leadership skills, ii) mid-career healthcare pathfinders who still hold a burning desire for change, iii) recently retired experts and seasoned professionals with the time and energy to help those that follow them become the agents of change that the system needs.
The TYF Group is social enterprise with a 30+ year track record of experiential learning and organisational change, focused on sustainability and wellbeing. TYF will be creating content and experiential learning activities with our health board partners and organisations including Dartington, Plas y Brenin and leading environmental NGOs.
Call To Action
We want to hear from young people who already imagine themselves as healthcare professionals shaping the NHS for sustainability, from parents wanting to hear more, and from planetary health specialists who can help us create a tsunami of change.
Contact: Sam Charlesworth (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Andy Middleton (email@example.com)
TYF, St.Davids, Pembrokeshire