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Providing analytical and practical support for Tommy's Rainbow Clinic in Manchester

A case study with Dr. Alexander Heazell, Senior Clinical Lecturer in Obstetrics and Clinical Director of the Tommy’s Stillbirth Research Centre, University of Manchester, UK. Tommy's provides a clinical service for mothers whose babies are stillborn or who die shortly after birth.  

In public sector healthcare, the ongoing pressure is to deliver the best possible care, in the most efficient way possible.

That was the challenge facing Dr. Alexander Heazell, who decided to look to the expertise of Alliance Manchester Business School (Alliance MBS) for analytical and practical support for Tommy's Rainbow Clinic in Manchester.

“I was already involved with The University of Manchester through my work as an academic. I split my working life down the middle – 50% goes towards caring for patients, and 50% is dedicated to research on understanding conditions and developing new practices,” he said.

“While the Rainbow Clinic seemed to be doing great work, it wasn’t maximising the service needs. We saw an opportunity to make use of the Alliance Manchester Business School Not-for-profit Consultancy Project and investigate the clinic’s business practices.”

Dr. Heazell has now been overseeing the clinic’s involvement for two years, benefiting from the insight and ideas of ten Alliance MBS MBA students (five in each of 2015 and 2016).

“In the first year, we needed to investigate what the value was for our attendees, along with the needs and requirements of our charity investors. For the second year, we switched focus towards the economics of the clinic itself and looked for insight into what success really looked like; for us as doctors, for administrators, commissioners and other stakeholders. We also looked to establish greater financial stability in the clinic and its investments.”

Students from the Alliance MBS Full-time MBA worked with Dr. Heazell and his colleagues to define and refine a clear set of questions for the project. They would then use the research expertise developed on the MBA to interrogate and prove the answers to those objectives.

“With the Alliance MBS MBA being very much based on interactive research, we found that they were able to provide a really positive assessment of the clinic and establish areas of improvement and development which we hadn’t considered before. They highlighted data that we didn’t have, or didn’t know, and set out ways to get hold of it.”

“The interdisciplinary aspect was also important – we were sharing ideas across disciplines and skills, which served to maximise the benefits from our involvement in the programme.”

The involvement with the Alliance MBS Not-for-profit Consultancy Project has had a hugely positive effect at Dr. Heazell’s clinic, ensuring greater stability, attractiveness to other units interested in implementing the service, clarity of success and, most importantly, creating a more effective service for patients.

It’s also been a constructive experience for the clinic’s staff.

“There was a presentation at the end of the project this year, and all of the staff came to see the results of the project. There’s been a lot of interest in the insights that the MBA students have developed, and in turn that’s really raised our team’s engagement at the clinic, as we have a better understanding of our aims and what we need to do to achieve them. We’re excited to continue learning more as the project progresses.”

Do you work for a third sector organisation that could benefit from free-of-charge consultancy from high-calibre MBAs? Find out more here >>