Thursday, 19 December 2013

Hugs all round

I have been really struggling to feel festive this year. A bad cold, a couple of rough weeks health wise and a very low mood few weeks certainly haven't helped. But what I have found to so hard in recent weeks is the relentless negativity around the NHS. I don't read the Daily Mail. This negativity is from my Twitter feed - a collection of health care professionals and NHS people who are normally passionate and enthusiastic but overcast with the media portrayal, privatisation and reality of our wards and clinics. 

I know the weather hadn't been great (we've had very few of those wonderfully crisp and fresh winter mornings) and that by Christmas every year everyone feels a bit run down. But this year feels more than that. 

Maybe a break over Christmas will help... But the NHS doesn't get to take a holiday (far from it if the winter crisis headlines are to be believed) and nor do many health care professionals. I have a restful week or so planned to 'recharge my batteries' but why do we find ourselves in a system where people are craving 'restorative' or 'replenishing' days? Why does working in the system drain our personal batteries so much? I said in a previous blog when I was talking as a patient, that "the system was broke and it was breaking me" but it feels like it is patients and professionals alike that are breaking.

Excuse the hyperbole... I don't want to sound like I'm being melodramatic! I guess what I am trying to ask is how sustainable is a system that requires so much of people that work to improve it? The system is a product of humanity - it isn't something created naturally and determined by non-negotiable laws of physics like gravity. So why can't people change the system if it was created by people in the first place? 

I guess the answer is we can - it is just a very slow and painful process! So to try and end 2013 on here on a more constructive note (because it has been an amazing year overall with being introduced to patient leadership by CPL, being part of Future of Health, and doing some exciting work in #meded and research) ... what would I give the NHS for Christmas?

I'd give my GP a Bernard's watch and a hug. In lieu of a solution to manage his workload, something to pause time is the next best thing. Short-sighted perhaps, but I'm open to other suggestions!

I'd give my OT and my physio an even bigger hug.

I'd give all the amazing and inspiring patient leaders and other people who have worked tirelessly for improvements some much needed TLC.  

But I'd also give the NHS a plentiful supply of the time and space and whatever else it needs to work collaboratively with patient leaders.   

Here's to a happier and healthier 2014 for the NHS and everyone who makes it!

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