One anniversary follows another....20 years of the NHS was the topic of the last blog- and then along came 15th August. 11 years ago- I stepped into the hospital where I had been a Specialist trainee, had done my research..as a Consultant. Unquestionably the pinnacle of my career- that maybe surprising to some- but that was the high point to achieve. Due to many reasons- documented previously, my dada couldn't- and always wanted me to be one. So when I got there? The pinnacle was reached.
And I suspect that's why the 11 years since have been so much fun..I mean- its all just a bonus, isn't it? Throw in the most important ingredient- the folks I work with? And heck, its been such a fun ride indeed. Its the people who make the place- and till today, the diabetes department has been a sanctuary for me. The toughest days, the harshest criticism or even just general feeling of not belonging...always- invariably melted away when inside the diabetes department.
And its well known too- I may have my individual bias- but ask around the diabetes world in the UK- you will struggle to find a pack which exudes such bonhomie. Trainees who come here take their own views back- and we have always taken a lot of pride in the mirth and ribbing that seems to spur each other on. Time has flown, roles have changed...but the banter hasn't. And thereby lies the ingredient. Nothing gives me more pleasure than walking into the department and sitting in my comic book adorned room. Inside the department, I am always just...Partha. Theres no falsity in the welcomes, there's no underlying motives in the greetings, theres no hypocrisy in the chatter- its simply friends working together. Sounds like fantasy? Pop along and have a look. Lunch breaks together as a team are a common theme- as are social evenings or just popping into each others rooms and catching up.
Plain sailing? Nope. Relations with multiple arenas within the hospital have been fraught over the years- partly as we have refused to see ourselves as a second class specialty, partly because of my own personality- but inherently because I have always felt you fight for better care of your diabetes patients. They deserve no less than anyone with a heart issue, or stroke- they deserve as much care and the right to be safe as anyone else. And if anyone stands against that or disregards that, then I will counter that. Every single time. Managers have come and gone- of different hues and shapes- some understanding, some downright bullies, some two-faced but never has our focus shifted. Cue fractious relations with middle management -yet a good strong relation with Executives at all stages. I suppose similar to the wider NHS...its forever the middle tier, isn't it? Most have moved on- some have even come back as part of a revolving door- but we have stood firm- and the results do speak for itself. Hope springs eternal with the present crop- a shared interest in Liverpool football club with your CEO (Mark Cubbon) never hurts either!
Ironically, the strongest ally have been local CCGs- manager , clinician , medicines management- and I must admit to hearing stories from other parts- and appreciate how lucky we are locally too. Sensible, committed and always keen to try different things. Fusing 3 providers and multiple GP surgeries to one model of care has been interesting- yet nearly 8 years later? The alliance, albeit a loose one- has held.
All in all? Its been a fabulous 11 years- with some amazing friends. It would be inherently wrong not to finish a blog of this nature with some thank you to folks along the way- who have been instrumental in their support, kind words- and ability to help unlock puzzles when the road appeared shut- and more importantly? Not played politics behind your back. Jim Hogan, Tim Goulder as GP colleagues; Sarah Malcolm, Melissa Way and Lynn Derby as CCG managers, Simon Holmes as Medical Director during those years, Sue Harriman- initially with Southern Health- and then the head honcho of Solent....its been good to have them around too. There are many I could name on the "other side" of those I remember- but someday- maybe- in a book- albeit with changed names, huh?
In the end? We are where we are. One of the strongest diabetes teams around- with a fierce-some reputation of working as a pack. Any changes going ahead? Unlikely- we are a stable team- and there has been a much needed injection of youth via our Consultant colleague, Eveleigh. The rest- Mike, Darryl and Iain are exactly the same- maybe a bit older- but definitely not any mellower.
And that's the way it should be. Onwards and Upwards. As the quote from "Brave" goes....
"Some say fate is beyond our command, but I know better.Our destiny is within us. You just have to be brave enough to see it"