Sir John Oldham qualified at Manchester Medical School in 1978 and worked in various teaching hospitals, culminating as a GP trainee in inner city Manchester. He joined Manor House Surgery, Glossop in 1983, and becoming senior partner in 1988.

In 1992, he gained an MBA with Distinction from Manchester Business School; his dissertation was on Continuous Quality Improvement in Primary Health Care. The work in the practice led to him being asked to present a paper to the 1st European Forum on quality improvement in health care, and subsequent invitations to the US and Sweden.

Don Berwick, CEO Institute of Health Care Improvement invited him in 1997, to be on a national project group with the IHI in Boston, U.S.A., looking at redesigning surgery systems in the U.S. This was being done using the Collaborative method, which he then brought back to the UK. He first proposed a primary care collaborative in 1997 and ultimately this led to him being asked to create and head the National Primary Care Development Team, which launched in February 2000.

The Primary Care Collaborative was the largest improvement programe in the world covering 32 million patients in 40 months and delivering 72% improvement in access to GPs and substantial reductions in mortality to patients with CHD. John Oldham also created the concept of the award winning Healthy Communities Collaborative with residents of deprived areas as the improvement team members. This concept spread as Passion for Life throughout Scandinavia. He has also worked in Education, raising performance of underperforming pupils. He was invited by the Australian Government to design and train a team operate a Primary Care collaborative across the whole of Australia, and similarly Saskatchewan in Canada. He is a keynote speaker at many international conferences on quality and safety and has also presented at the World economic Forum in Davos. He has written a couple of books and numerous articles on quality improvement and large system change, and has been a visiting professor at Vanderbilt University, Tennessee. He was National Clinical Lead for Quality and Productivity at the Department of Health and for 6 years was a member of the National Quality Board, setting the strategic direction for quality and safety in the NHS. He was Chair of Primary Care at the Global Health Forum presided by Lord Ara Darzi, and Chair of Independent Commission on Whole Person Care whose report One Person One Team One System was widely praised. He has recently assisted Norwegian ministers in Health strategy, Primary Care redesign in Sweden and a Maternity review in the NHS. He is also adjunct professor of Global health Innovation at Imperial College London.

In 2000, he received the OBE for services to patients and in 2003 was awarded a knighthood for services to the NHS.


These are topics that have proven valuable to customers in the past and are meant only to suggest the speakers range and interests.

Sir John tailors each presentation to the needs of his audience and is not limited to the topics we have listed below. Please ask us about any subject that interests you; we are sure that we can accommodate you.

Efficient healthcare



  • The Small Book About Large System Change

    This book tells the story about the creating of large system change. The specific context and subject matter deals with primary health care in England, but the principles of such change and the lessons and insights learnt are generic. They have relevance and offer great potential for others sectors and contexts.

    The extent and scale of the large system change achieved here is best summed up by Donald M. Berwick, CEO from the Institute of Healthcare Improvement, in Boston, Massachusetts, USA who remarked foreword that …
    “I personally know of no improvement effort in any industry, that has achieved in such a short time such widespread and frankly, technically difficult set of changes, with such stunning results, ever”.

    Similarly, Dr. Ross Wilson, from the Australian Health & Safety Council, New South Wales, remarked that:
    “He's achieved more with his system-change activities than I've ever seen anyone, anywhere in the world achieve”.

    The story focuses on three essential elements of large system change as follows:

    • the systematic transfer of knowledge
    • the creation of an environment that facilitated the uptake of ideas
    • a unified policy framework and infrastructure for spread.

    The account is both insightful and compelling and is a landmark reference on a hands on approach at creating and sustaining large system change.

    This beautifully written book is for manages, leaders, practitioners, clinicians, health care professionals, teachers, educators, academics and others engaged in service improvement in the public as well as the private sector.

  • Long Term Conditions


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