Covid will make sure we are all going to have to do our jobs differently. In the future and now.
Professional boundaries have blurred and if there ever was an example, Shafi Ahmed, one of our leading international surgeons and doyen of a digital future, is helping out on nursing shifts, on a ward, in London.
Good luck. My advice… do what sister tells you!
Maybe not as extreme but, we all have to do things differently. Not least people working in offices, particularly those who wield huge influence.
Influence comes from credibility, credibility comes from understanding and that comes from knowing what’s happening on the ground… reading the mood, the colour and texture and knowing how to respond.
Senior people, distanced from the action, need to get the tone right… vital.
Right now, there's no more room for the clumsy memos, letters and guidance that spew out of Skipton House and the Kremlin, in Leeds.
I cannot think there's anything that they can say that would be helpful… other than we are closing-down, rolling-up our sleeves and coming to help.
The NHS does not need to be told; ‘… maintaining rigorous infection prevention and control procedures continues to be essential’.
I don’t see the point of writing a billet-doux telling anyone;‘the NHS needs to be prepared and ready to mobilise additional vaccination sites as quickly as possible…’
Yes, you’ve guessed, there’s a bonkers letter to system leaders that’s done just that.
The two authors obviously don't know, by the end of December, via 80 hospital hubs and 542 local vaccination sites, the NHS had vaccinated nearly 1,000,000 people. Germany did 166,000. France managed 138.
‘…to improve performance on timely and safe discharge,’ is something the NHS is busting a gut to do and a letter to remind Trusts, is spectacularly insulting and out of touch with the reality on the ground.
For bone-head-numpty-ness, it competes with; ‘…minimise the effects of emergency department crowding…’ for the prize for the most insulting memo of the year.
All this blindingly-obvious stuff is in a six page masterpiece that manages to tell Trusts to;
‘…remind all staff that wellbeing hubs have been funded and will mobilise in the new year…’
The authors are oblivious to the fact Wobble-Rooms were up and running weeks ago, with no help from NHSEI.
I wonder what possessed the dumb-duo to enjoin; ‘…all systems [to] aim for top quartile performance in productivity…’ The authors may start the day with a cup of coffee and a ginger biscuit, but that's not how it's done where the action is... there's scarcely time for a pee.
In the midst of dealing with the worst health emergency ever, tell me why this is important;
‘… systems will need to calculate baseline contract values to align with these financial envelopes so there is a clear view of baseline financial flows’.
This junk-mail is from someone, a former chief executive of a Trust, who appears to have forgotten where she came from, whom I doubt would have welcomed a letter from the centre to remind her of the;
‘… need to maintain the energy and effort to meet the needs of all we serve'
... the other signatory to the letter, I've never heard of... if you meet him, show him a picture of a hospital, it's probably the closest he'll get.
Setting top-management tone is always important and right now, crucial.
It consists of five things;
Put some sizzle in the system - that’s not demanding, ‘send me your activity plan’.
Set an example - work a few shifts as a porter, then think about your memos.
Signal your priorities - that’s not sending a letter with ten of them.
Establish the mood - say things like, ‘we are cutting the c%^p, so you can get on with the job’.
Be visible and approachable, no one can see you in Skipton House.
The memo they should have written? Under 40 words will do…
‘Don’t worry about the finance or the strategic palaver, we’ve got your back for that. Just look after the front-line, find out what broken-hearts do when they get home... and we’ll sort the rest out later.'
The right tone creates the right attitude and that's contagious.
Right now the NHS is not about business as usual because there is nothing usual about what the NHS is being asked to do.
This incredible letter undermines the credibility of the authors, who we might have looked to for leadership and direction…
>>I'm hearing - a good deal of anger at BoJo parading himself around a hospital to bask in vaccine glory, but won't protect the NHS by more stringent preventative measures. I think if I was still running a hospital, I'd show him the door.
>> I'm hearing - England cricketer Moeen Ali has tested positive for coronavirus at the start of the team's tour of Sri Lanka.
>> I'm hearing - Care homes were given some free iPads a few months ago, to help residents stay connected to their loved ones. It appears that the FaceTime app was removed. Is this right?