In our eagerness to be helpful, are we in fact, all part of the problem?
Entire industries rely on being needed to help people. Having people in need of help gives these industries a justification to exist. Ultimately, we can never get away from the uncomfortable fact that it pays many of our salaries. We all play our part in an expensive game of bidding, competing for and winning ‘work’.
You might hope the answer to that question is self-evident. Whatever your long-term goal, you need a plan for how you’re going to get there, particularly if you work in a complex, dynamic environment like the health service. And particularly if you’re relying upon multiple organisations to help you achieve that goal.
I am a psychiatrist. I love people. I believe in happiness and opportunity as basic human needs. As a teenager, I thought that if we could just live in a true democracy, we could have a peaceful world, where everyone could have equal opportunities to reach their potential. I was truly a product of the era of that great song “I’d like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony”.
However, having no singing talent, to play my modest part in creating happiness and equality, I became an NHS doctor! This blog is written through the lens of my experiences with patients and communities.
Artificial Intelligence is opening up new frontiers, whether in health care, business or (only slightly alarmingly) warfare, promising a new generation of ethical conundrums. The quandaries caused by driverless cars may require grappling with sooner than most. “It is not the ferocity of automobiles that is to be feared, but the ferocity of those who drive them. Until humans intervene, they are usually harmless.” (Georgia Appeals Court, 1909)
Topic for Melting Pot Lunch 20 September 2017 ‘Geno-what’? A new technology is sweeping across the NHS, but what can it offer and what does it mean?
Genomics - the ability to test for 20,000 genes in one go - is now available in many clinical services. Whilst you may not have personally accessed such testing, someone you are biologically related to may be offered it. And the questions that they have answered may be of interest to you too.
For well over one hundred years people have been arguing about the second chamber of Parliament. What powers should it have? Who should sit in it? And do we need a second chamber at all? If we do, what possible justification can there be for an unelected House, made up largely of superannuated political appointees and people who owe their position in it to an accident of birth? How can such a chamber be representative of the people that it is meant to serve?
No, this wasn’t Kaleidoscope’s take on Mayweather vs. McGregor. Melting Pot Punch was a far more peaceful event, although we won’t pretend there wasn’t some tension when the last piece of cake was offered round.
Taking place on August 23rd, Melting Pot Punch was Kaleidoscope’s way of celebrating one year of Melting Pot Lunches – an opportunity to celebrate 12 months of meal deals and breaking bread with over 200 people – and a chance to try out a new Melting Pot format.
Today, one photo, a single email or a simple hashtag can launch a worldwide movement.
Alicia Garza posted a Facebook post that ended in ‘black lives matter’, Patrisse Cullors created the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter and Opal Tometi took the phrase Black Lives Matter and helped turn a hashtag into a transnational networked movement. This was their call to action. Three women, who wanted to address the issue of racism, who reimagined a world that is a better place and created a movement that challenges systemic racism in every context.
Culture is possibly the most important, but also over-used and, at times, meaningless concept deployed by those interested in the organisation and improvement of healthcare.
We are frequently told that high performing organisations have the 'right culture'. And in healthcare, organisations with the ‘right culture’ are often seen as safer, more efficient or more responsive.
When I took up post at Healthwatch England in 2013, I had travelled across many policy domains, working in charities, in academia and in government, but I was a newcomer to health.
With the natural curiosity of the foreigner in a new land, I was intrigued by the amount of heat generated in conversations about patient and public involvement. I saw emotions run high, and predominant amongst those emotions was frustration. Frustration from patient groups who ask: why are we not being heard/taken seriously/in the right conversations at the right times? And frustration too from the managers, commissioners and practitioners who wearily confess that engagement feels like another burden, a further task on their crowded to-do lists.