Beyond Received Wisdom and Authorised Accounts: What Knowledge Is Needed to Avoid Repeating History?; Comment on “‘Attending to History’ in Major System Change in Healthcare in England: Specialist Cancer Surgery Service Reconfiguration”

Document Type : Commentary


University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK


Perry and colleagues’ study of a programme to reconfigure cancer surgery provision in Greater Manchester highlights the importance of accounting for history in making successful change. In this short commentary, I expand on some of Perry and colleagues’ key findings. I note the way in which those leading change in Greater Manchester combined formal expertise in change management with sensitivity to local context, enhancing their approach to change through attention to details around relationships, events and assumptions that might otherwise have derailed the process. I identify lessons for others in how best to account for history in leading change, highlighting in particular the need to attempt to access and understand forms of history that may be suppressed, difficult-to-articulate, or otherwise marginalised.


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  • Receive Date: 24 August 2022
  • Revise Date: 21 November 2022
  • Accept Date: 03 December 2022
  • First Publish Date: 04 December 2022