Friday, May 19, 2017

This and That

Purdah and all that: Elections are coming and not surprisingly, social media has been hotting up. Folks with their political beliefs -whatever their working background- have taken to Twitter etc to highlight their views giving rise to an interesting conundrum for many. Quizzical looks abound along with head scratching to understand rules of purdah....what it is- depends on who you ask and how they interpret it. It's been fascinating to observe the wranglings, the debates...and what constitutes a breach and what doesn't. As I understand it, stay away from announcing anything new - some seem to have interpreted it as not doing anything new...but there you go! As an observer, my top tip for those working in the NHS? By all means, express your views- that indeed is your democratic right, just be aware of GMC regulations too about bringing colleagues into disrepute. It's a fine line to tread- and while others may enjoy or even use your opinion to further their cause, don't forget, the career, the worry etc as to impact of your opinion? It's only yours. So just be cautious, look after yourselves and if not sure, look up the GMC guidelines for social media.

The tent: Over the last year, if not more, as part of various roles I have done, I have had the privilege to meet many GP colleagues dotted around the country..and some I have been blown away by their passion, dedication and indeed zeal to improve care. Labelled quickly as the rebels, they have, in my view, appeared to have been placed "outside the tent". As someone who has always flirted with the edges of officialdom, yet try to be "part of the ordinary people", it fascinates me to see them. I can tell you what the NHS needs...Mavericks...and a whole lot of them. We all need the Goose in our lives but you can never beat a Maverick. They bring that X factor, the ability to inspire, the ability to make others believe...and we need a whole lot of them. You know who you are, help us out. To the question, will you be allowed in the tent...I have only one thing to say...I am here doing my job, aren't I? And if you believe we have done some good things for diabetes care, then think of what you can do for primary care.

Nothing changes: In a month, the elections will be over. Once upon a time, I was a big believer in divides getting healed post an issue. The Trump elections, Brexit has taught me that perhaps it's too big an ask. Our beliefs will be what they are, and will stay-whoever comes to power. The trillion dollar question is whether we, as HCPs, post the election can join forces to make some much needed changes. Perhaps it's wishful thinking but to me, in my life, in my role, I have one task: Improve diabetes care. 
Would that change if my preferred colour wasn't in government? Not in the slightest. Blue, Red, Yellow, Green...even Purple- it doesn't matter to me. My political beliefs may not match but that doesn't change my role- to advocate for patients with diabetes. Can we do that post GE2017? I don't know but I would welcome that- albeit in my siloed world of diabetes. I must also add that in my year in a bit, I haven't met anyone, who irrespective of their grade of "militancy" hasn't extended a hand of help, when asked. I would be much grateful if we could try to keep this going post the elections.

The last week - I have travelled a far bit, met Commissioners, network leads, Consultant colleagues,GPs, health psychologists, Practice nurses, Specialist nurses...and to everyone I have continued to are doing a good job under the circumstances but let's see what we can try to get better. The next 3 weeks will be tough, and post that, one side will have to sit in opposition. 

For some in the NHS, it will be tough but post the dust settling, let's try and get back to what we genuinely love doing. Ladies and gentlemen, life's too short- and its not everyone who is given the opportunity to make a difference to someone else's lives. 


  1. Just reading Yanis Varoufakis' excellent political memoir Partha - you'll like this quote from the beginning of the book:

    “ ‘There are two kinds of politicians,’ he said: ‘insiders and outsiders. The outsiders prioritize their freedom to speak their version of the truth. The price of their freedom is that they are ignored by the insiders, who make the important decisions. The insiders, for their part, follow a sacrosanct rule: never turn against other insiders and never talk to outsiders about what insiders say or do. Their reward? Access to inside information and a chance, though no guarantee, of influencing powerful people and outcomes.’ With that Summers arrived at his question. ‘So, Yanis,’ he said, ‘which of the two are you?’ ”

    It's another really good book :)

    Very best wishes,


    1. I think I might just seek out this book. Thanks!