Tuesday, April 28, 2015

The long road

I still remember it like yesterday. March 2012..got woken up by a phone call from our Trusts communication team. I had to,as the Clinical Director, put in a media appearance...Diabetes UK had broken a news that showed Portsmouth were one of the worst as regards diabetes foot amputations. The local and national news outlet had run stories- and I had to make a public appearance.
I taped it that day- and still have it in my collection. Defending bad news is never nice but whats the point in being a leader if you can't stand up to be counted when the chips are down? It's not just about the award ceremonies...but I remember that vividly..remember my ears burning when the interviewer pressed. my whole being screamed out to say I couldn't be responsible on my own...but that day, I aged many years- and learnt much.

I learnt also much about colleagues whose glee were only too faintly hidden..after all, we were the upstarts who had dared to change how diabetes care was delivered and the thinly veiled taunts stung. You see no one sees the hurt, the times when you sit down..they only see the public glitzy persona, the trophies, the shine...but a learning experience none the less. And I learnt one more thing..the essence of where I worked, the friends who I worked with- across Trusts, across professions who had a steely determination to improve things. When we analysed things, it was apparent, there were gaps everywhere through the service..1 foot MDT / week, little structured access to vascular or orthopaedics, lack of education in primary care, enough access...you name it, we didn't quite have it.

Today about 3 years later...today marked a special day. a day when finally the final jigsaw regards the service fell in place. a progression to a clear pathway, a 5 day foot MDT, better access to orthotics, orthopaedics and vascular surgery, an education package for primary care specifically on feet- and finally green light for an inpatient podiatrist to help on the vascular wards. Some might say, they already have this...you know what..we didn't..and now we have- and the struggle we have all gone through to get here would fill a book inits own right. But we are here and collectively that pride is something I would love to share.

So much has happened and certainly not the time to rehash the disappointments but only to think of the highs. Whether it be Consultant colleagues all pitching in to do the clinics, whether it be our podiatry colleagues determination to improve things in the community or our CCGs steadfast support to make it happen- and of course support from our own Division..there are many many things to look back and be proud of.

So to Darryl Meeking, our foot lead or Sharon, Emily, Mandy,Susanne et al from Solent NHS Trust..or our friendly Commissioners such as Sarah Malcolm, thank you for all the steadfast determination to get there. It's now time to deliver- and hopefully we can- with early signs being pretty positive. A word also for Diabetes UK for also being a fantastic voice of support- that has been a magical extra source of support.

So we are here..lessons for others? What do you need? Time. Determination. The ability to get up and try again. And mostly? A sense of camaraderie - whoever you work for.

Finally, for those who "enjoyed" our amputation rates..I never forget- and haven't. Good on you for being awesome and frankly, if i didn't have the spur, maybe we wouldn't have got here. If you have amazing outcomes, I applaud that and do come and tell us all how you did it.  Till then, let me take a moment and say frankly how much of a privilege it is to work with such amazing colleagues in Portsmouth. I was born lucky...my choice of work place was no exception either.

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