Any regular readers of my blog will know I'm regularly in the business of supporting the transformation of health and social care. It's inspiring work, especially when I work with people truly committed to improving people's experience. But as we know we are told constantly that the service is in difficulty, that the needs are outstripping the resources. Constant tales of unaffordable medicines and waiting times in A&E fill our newspapers and so when I do work with the public on how to improve health and social care it's those stories I wait to hear.
And yes I do hear of people wanting to go home from hospital but not able to do so because of lack of proper home care support, the kinds of issues that creative responses to integrating health and care may actually help with but that's not the main issue. Neither you may be surprised to hear is it about access to life lengthening drugs for people with cancer. These issues are real but they aren't the ones on most people's lips. I'm sure I will have met those who have hung about in A&E for a bit too long but generally if the care has eventually been fine they are happy to accept a wait, however inconvenient.
Can you guess what people tell me when I do this work? Most often what they say is we want them to really listen to us, to hear what we are saying and treat us with respect. To invest in the things that help us to help ourselves, to help us understand how to keep ourselves well, whatever our conditions and help us understand where we can look for support when we need it. See me not my condition the plea.
I work too with professionals who want to deliver quality care and support, who see the contradictions in their role, who too want to be heard, respected, treated with humanity.
Indeed a group of person centred coaches I work with developed this list of hopes for Christmas for those in the field of health and care.
The 12 days of Christmas…."integration" brought to me…..
•Openness, trust and respect
•Nothing about us without us
•Positive risk taking
•Learning from mistakes
•Everyone involved is on the bus
•A82 vs dual carriage way
•Let it go……..
We thought maybe we could adapt the words of a certain song for number 12 but on further listening the much heard lyrics seemed strangely appropriate!https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L0MK7qz13bU....enjoy a wee sing a long!
But you do have to be a local to get the A82 analogy of number 11 but actually it's one of the most beautiful roads in Scotland, you just don't want to have a medical emergency on it! But there is a beauty in our all messiness as human beings and in the local communities which remain close and connected and whilst they may not have shining motorways, there is still heart.
And that's the theme I hear lying underneath all of this. Let's bring our humanity and our heart into health and care. I know there are big decisions to take, challenges to face and long lives to accommodate but it seems to me if we bring a our hearts, our humanity and ensure individuals and communities are key participants in this decision making we are more likely to get it right.
And don't just take my word for it. this years Reith lectures are focused on enabling the right conversations at the end of our lives. The wonderful Atul Gawande makes a very strong case to do this differently. do listen
So I don't want a lot for Christmas, mostly it's to let our hearts shape our work in health and care, recognising our shared humanity is the change we collectively seek. That's the beginning of our path to wellbeing....
Wishing you all the best of the festive season...