Wednesday, April 9, 2014

A timely hug

The last few days have been profoundly interesting...actually scrap that...it's been a bit of a roller coaster. Some events haven't been too surprising, some have helped me understand myself a little bit better and some have helped me appreciate perhaps why putting your head above the parapet is worthwhile.

But lets start with something which has been so uplifting.Last night, I held a tweet-chat on behalf of Our Diabetes and the basic theme was very simple...lets talk about what works as regards diabetes care, what doesn't work regards diabetes care and finally what in the present structures in the NHS needs explaining or changing. I won't bore you with the details but what was really great was the first bit ...what works, what's good about the NHS. Now let me get this straight...I don't belong to the camp where everything in the NHS is wonderful, everyone works hard, faultlessly simply due to love for patients....and neither am I in the camp that it's an unsafe corrupt,money wasting monolith full of selfish, uncaring  people. in fact, its a mixture with the majority share tilted towards the positive side...and in fact, that's what most people believe and understand. Don't be foxed by twitter...which has its substantial share of evangelism...and thankfully are not representative of the huge majority of people who exist outside the niched world of social media.

What I enjoyed was all the good things I heard...the respect and love for DSNs, the myth busting that GPs weren't good, the myth that all good care is done by specialists...no we had a mixture ..we had a simple realisation...it didn't matter what your job title said, it didn't matter where you worked...what did matter whether you were caring, whether you were there when there was a need, whether you listened and whether you saw the patient beyond just a pathology, beyond just a number.
And for me, it was brilliant..a burst of positivity which I absolutely loved. It dovetailed into what needed to change, improve...but with empathy from patients as to why we are struggling to do so, understanding and even suggestions what to do....and it made me appreciate why it's worth doing what I do.For sure, you will have leaders who will work within the system, talk, try and cajole others to change..and yes, I do that too...but every system also needs their system of disrupters, the rabble rousers...as I say to all our juniors....in a system where listening to patients is still mostly a tokenism...there's only champion to fight their corner..that's you as an HCP..and you have many ways to do it. You can either wait for opportunity to knock on the door..or you can create that opportunity yourself..or you can knock that door down yourself.You need all sorts to make a difference.

Which nicely dovetails into some of the other bits which has helped me realise a bit more about myself. With time, I think I am beginning to understand a few simple things...there are few things which will always annoy me, raise my antibody levels...and the choice over the last few years or even suggestion has been to suppress that..as it may hamper my career. I have however realised 2 things..actually, no it doesn't..all it does is pander to others poor behaviour, encourage the development of leaders who just talk without facing genuine challenge..and in turn the system grinds to a halt as we allow such individuals to hog the leadership positions,spend a lot of time doing gimmicks rather than actually making a difference,

So Partha Kar is unlikely to change...last nights tweet chat showed how much work there is to do..and so far,we are known as a progressive diabetes team because of the team we have, the style I bring..the straightforward talking..which seems to go down well with our primary care colleagues and patients. I don't like hypocrisy..especially those who face to face drip sweet nothings and yearn to work with you but then are different behind your back. the problem with that is yes I do make enemies but I also do make many friends as I go along..and somewhere down the line your hypocrisy will get caught out.The rule then in my book is very simple...I am out. A few years back, I would be a coruscating enemy to make..now..call it age, call it maturity...I ain't that..but you will know whe you stand for the rest of my career. Frankly, I would rather spend my energy to make changes rather than work out how to undermine someone else...but no, I won't forget either.

So there you go...this weeks blog offering. A dollop of positivity with an insight into a perhaps older me. I must end by saying a huge thank you to so many patients or carers involved with diabetes who have helped me refocus, given me a boost of optimism which has been a nice little cross roads to get past. I get paid well, the easier option is for me to do my job plan and go home on time every day, nothing more,nothing less. But you know what..that would be being dishonest to the promise I made to myself so many years back...when I finish my career, I will make a difference to diabetes care. I absolutely promise you that...and thank you to so many for momentarily losing sight of that. Sometimes even Batman needs a hug, doesn't he?

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