15 minutes with: Amanda Grantham

Our experts are on the frontlines of bringing ingenuity to life for our clients. They accelerate new growth ideas from concept, through design and development to commercial success. And they revitalise organisations with the leadership, culture, systems and processes to make innovation a reality.

In this series, you’ll meet some of the brilliant minds creating change every day.

Amanda Grantham
Amanda Grantham is helping healthcare clients make life-impacting decisions that improve peoples’ quality of life.

What is your background and how did you come to PA?

I grew up in New Zealand, hence the accent, but I’ve been in the UK now for almost as long as I lived in New Zealand. I am proud of my background having grown up in a small town known for horse breeding and dairy farming.

Before joining PA, I worked in the private healthcare sector and the National Health Service (NHS). I made the leap into consultancy because I enjoyed being able to transform NHS services and had the chance to work on some great projects like setting up surgical assessment units. But this was alongside an operational role, and I found it impossible to be able to do both well. I’ve now been at PA for almost six years and became a partner at the start of 2023.

What’s different about working at PA?

From day one, I realised there was something different about PA. The team and firm gave me the autonomy that I needed to be creative: to solve real client challenges. Also, it’s our people. We have such a wide range of people with deep proper subject matter expertise, alongside people who are just starting their careers. There’s always somebody who’s got the experience to help solve the problem, and there’s a real willingness to do that. It’s not a firm that works in silos.

I feel excited about getting up and going to work because I know it’s a different challenge to solve than the day before. Even if it’s the same challenge, you never do it the same way twice.”
Amanda Grantham and her PA colleagues

How would you describe your job to somebody who didn’t know what consulting was?

I have the privilege of working in partnership with the NHS transforming people and processes to improve health outcomes and the quality of life of those around us. A good example of that is the work we did on the COVID-19 vaccine programme. We had a really big, complex problem – how do we vaccinate the whole adult population in a short space of time to save lives? We had the opportunity to create a whole new workforce to be able to do that. That’s really what I do – help the NHS improve operational and financial performance, and solve big complex challenges through people and process.

How has your work changed in recent years?

Some things have changed and some things haven’t. The things that haven’t changed include the context around funding and the challenge of meeting increased demand due to an aging population, and these are core challenges for the NHS. Obviously COVID-19 impacted the healthcare market significantly. We saw a big pivot in how we worked that saw innovation happen on a daily basis. This has helped people to recognise that it’s possible to make really big, complex changes at pace within the NHS. It also demonstrated the power of data and information to help drive decision-making, and there’s much more focus on that now especially in the reduction of health inequalities. Digital and artificial intelligence will impact our work in the future, for example where we can use AI to read radiology images which changes the skills of the workforce.

I think the biggest change for us has been thinking differently about people. We’ve seen a completely new workforce come into play and now we get the opportunity to really rethink how clinical pathways work to solve the challenges of demand in a really different way.”

We’re also seeing a focus on prevention, which is all about reinvesting money into doing things in a different way, for example using population health management data better to inform treatment and new services that will reduce health inequalities and deliver the right care first time. There’s also the use of virtual wards, where we ask how we transition care from a traditional hospital setting into the home. Those are the things that make it really exciting – the focus shifting to the wellness of people in the future.

Amanda Grantham and her PA colleagues

How do you bring ingenuity to life in the work that you do?

Ingenuity is everything we do as we have to reimagine how services are delivered to meet local population needs and improve outcomes. This could be redesigning a process or the model of care that needs to be provided, thinking about how we use technology in a different way, or completely reimagining who provides care from a workforce perspective. Healthcare is one of the few places where you physically see the impact working alongside the clinicians and operational teams, you see the benefits to people as well as being able to measure lives saved.

What are some of the projects you’ve worked on that have delivered this impact?

Following COVID-19, we found that people spend longer in hospital than they need to. Particularly for older people, the longer they stay in hospital, the more deconditioned they become. We helped a Health Trust to reduce the length of stay by 0.7 days, working on wards with operational teams to plan patient discharges. We made sure we worked alongside social care to get people into the right care setting as fast as we could.

I am also working with one of our healthcare clients to reimagine the genomics workforce. We’ll see an increase in genomic sequencing to help with earlier diagnosis and treatment, but right now, the workforce would be the constraint. This will enable us to explore how can we automate processes and how we ensure a trained and competent workforce delivering elements of care to support the anticipated increase in volumes.

Amanda Grantham and her PA colleagues

What is exciting you most about your work at the moment?

The national focus on productivity and financial grip is exciting in my role leading financial and operational improvement within the NHS. With the well-published challenges of industrial action and the length of waiting lists, there has never been a more critical time to ensure we are making best use of our valuable NHS resources.

The shift to prevention motivates me, particularly when we start thinking about the popularity of wearable health monitoring devices like Apple watches where we can use individual and personalised data to prevent treatment being needed. It would be great to move to a model where we focus on wellbeing and really preventing people coming into clinical settings.

In my role at PA, another thing that really excites me is that I’m one of the partner sponsors for PA’s Accessibility, Neurodiversity, and Disability (AND) network.

We’re on a journey to recognise the need to support staff in a different way, to create a more diverse workforce in the future.”

This year we focused on raising awareness, and next year is about getting the basics right. We’ve been asked by clients, using our lived experience, to shape their thinking around neurodiversity and long-term conditions. We recognise that we’re on a journey and we haven’t always got it right, but we want to be an employer of choice for everyone. That’s the brilliance of being at PA, as I get to choose to help people to thrive in their career and help them to bring their best selves to work.

What are your key goals for the future?

I want to be able to continue to make PA a market leader in health and life sciences in the UK so that we continue to improve the health outcomes of people and communities.

I also want to make sure that we make PA the most inclusive and diverse workforce that we possibly can. I have the privilege to positively impact people around me and now I’m really committed to helping the next generation of people to do the same.

What is it like to be a leader within PA

I am an imperfect leader and learning every day. PA gives me the ability to be creative and continue to learn, but more importantly to work with amazing people and help them learn, develop, and grow to best solve our client challenges.

In terms of being a leader, PA enables us to be ourselves and bring our best selves to work at whatever level of the organisation. I’ve had the opportunity to step up and do things that I wouldn’t have thought possible and learn from other people’s expertise, which is important as a female leader. It’s about recognising what you need to grow. PA recognises people much earlier in their careers than other firms and enables us to be authentic as a leader

What advice you would give to somebody who wanted to follow in your footsteps?

Seize every opportunity, my career has not been linear. Be brave as sometimes you have to take steps sideways and even backwards in order to take a step forwards. Build your personal resilience and grit as you will need these when there are bumps in the road.

What are you looking forward to right now?

What I’m really looking forward to is this year’s PA’s Raspberry Pi Competition because it brings together all of the best bits of PA in terms of helping young people start to think about solving real-life healthcare challenges.


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