The story of Change Day

Tomorrow morning, as we wake up to a new year, many of us will be resolving to make a change for the better to improve our health and wellbeing. Whether we start the diet, go for a run or stop smoking, lots of us will  do something to make a change to better our health.

To record all of the great change actions that are taking place, NHS Change Day 2015 is being launched tomorrow. From 1 January, anyone who is making a change to improve health and care can record their actions at the NHS Change Day website.

To celebrate the launch of Change Day 2015, we want to share with you the story of Change Day, to show the impact that small changes can have for health and care. Change Day started with a tweet, but it has grown into the biggest day of collective action for improvement in the history of the NHS.

Early in March 2012, a group of front-line clinicians and NHS improvement leaders began to exchange ideas and a vision about how they could bring together staff across the NHS and its supporters in positive change and improvement.

Like many change initiatives, at the start some of the fundamental questions considered were:
  • What are we asking people to do?
  • How will we measure the outcomes and impact?
  • Should we give people themes to pledge about?
  • What is our objective?
  • What shall we use as our goal?
  • Who owns Change Day - how do we keep it grassroots?
  • How will the change be sustained beyond a single day?
Initially they thought of asking everyone to develop an improvement project inspired by the introduction of the NHS change model. Some thought a target of 500 projects might be reasonable. Others thought it could be more ambitious. At a strategy meeting, the goal of achieving 65,000 online pledges was agreed – 1,000 for every year of the NHS.

After brainstorming various ways in which this social movement could be brought about, they developed the concept of a single day of action. A core leadership team was established within the change model team to provide central co-ordination and specialist support to enable their vision from concept to implementation.

The foundations of Change Day were built around a grass roots shared purpose - creating a mass movement of people working in and with the NHS and demonstrating the difference they could make by one simple act each for sustainable improvement. The only condition for participation was a willingness to publicly make a pledge and to register on the site before doing so.

This led to the first NHS Change Day, which took place on 13th March 2013. They were seeking to harness the creativity, innovation and energy of people who work for and with the NHS and patients, in a single day of collective action. The shared purpose of Change Day was to mobilise a grass roots movement of people to gain 65,000 pledges of action – 1,000 for each year since the NHS was established. This would make it the single largest simultaneous improvement event in the history of the NHS and, therefore, one of the largest of any organisation in the world.

Not only did they reach the 65,000 target, but they smashed it, receiving a staggering 189,000 pledges.

Change Day continued to grow and NHS Change Day 2014 was the biggest day of collective action for improvement in the history of the NHS. This time, over 800,000 pledges of action were made to make a change for the better within health and care.

Thousands of NHS staff, patients and supporters have made actions to make a change for the better. All of the stories being shared through the #100DaysofChange campaign exemplify great changes that have been made to improve the NHS.

NHS Change Day 2015 will be a bit different from NHS Change Day 2014. In 2014 we asked people to give pledges for change. This year, we’re asking people to tell us about change they’ve actually started. So if tomorrow you buy a new pair of trainers, join a slimming group, stop smoking or start to smile more, tell us about it at

  • 100 Days of Change
  • Campaigns > Change Day 2015
  • Campaigns
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