Last night I tweeted out my bemusement at some of the tweets I was reading with regards to NHS Change Day- and it launched an avalanche of tweets with supporters and sceptics joining in equal measures. It even prompted a blog which I read with interest but at the very outset, if anyone wants to know about my views on the NHS Change Day or other such initiatives, read this or this.
I will be honest- the reason I decided to make a pledge was simply because of 2 reasons- Firstly, Pollyanna Jones asked me- I know her from work i had done previously with her- and beyond anything, one thing has always shone through...a genuine fierce desire to improve patient care...and in my book, if someone like that asks, thats good enough for me. Secondly, Roy Lilley's blog..again i know Roy and am aware he polarises opinion but I do know that it takes something extraordinary to break that curmudgeonly cynical heart...a few weeks back, he had thrown his weight behind it and I was in.
The others involved- such as Natalie Silvey or Damian Roland - i don't know much about. Damian mentions some kind words in his blog about me- but believe you me, I am nowhere near "pretty awesome". My ego is huge, am incredibly cocky, in some eyes, maybe proud...but beyond that do try and improve patient care - or at least as best as I can. Yep, that's pretty much me in a nutshell.
Anyhow, to me, NHS Change Day is something where you pledge to do something that is beyond the norm...but then I saw pledges appear such as "pledge to ensure safe care"; "pledge to ensure equality in workplace"...and something deeper sets itself out. The same principle which has also created cynics about campaigns such as 6C or #hellomynameis. Have we got that isolated or even insulated in work, has it all become so unbearable that we now have to pledge to be compassionate, pledge to say "thank you", pledge to "treat each patient as a member of my family"? If that's where the health system has got to and perhaps Francis does allude to that, then thank god we have even got this event to reiterate to folks what they should be doing...in my opinion..naturally. Saying thank you to staff, not tolerating discrimination, not tolerating bullying should be an ingrained aspect of being a human being, leave alone an NHS employee.
As I said, its my opinion- but I suspect the good thing is that it indeed is driven by the grass-roots (though arguably some cynics oppose even that). In between there are some absolutely brilliant pledges...read the ones about a CEO planning to read bedtime stories to the kids or a CEO pledging to visit patients daily- who have no families. Heart warming...outside what they need to do, outside what they are paid to do...a brilliant gesture for which I have nothing but utmost respect.
To the organisers, a bit of cautious optimism around this...don't let this be hijacked by people jumping on the bandwagon with pledges which raise questions "what have you been doing so long?" And to counter the cynics? Create some outcomes..some tangible benefits...otherwise its just a social movement which looks amazing to the social media world...but in the vast expanse out there? Another name tag to add to the multiple initiatives...don't allow cynicism to build...allow all to see benefits of such a great cause. Ask people to pledge..say it as if the mean it...not be a part of or jump on to the bandwagon...or have old wine repackaged in new bottles. The NHS needs a boost of optimism...we all know it- and for anyone who works with me, will know thats probably consists of majority of my day job...showcasing hope and optimism.
Pollyanna, Damian, Natalie et al? This is YOUR project..let it be yours and I wish you all the best for it too.However let the euphoria be tempered by its eventual outcomes. However, in the words of Sir William Ostler..."The philosophies of one age become the absurdities of the next..and the foolishness of yesterday has become the wisdom of tomorrow".
Godspeed ladies and gentlemen.