Imagine the scene. You and your fellow managers look in the cupboard and see only 30 PPE gowns. You know the centralised provision of PPE is anything but reliable. Your forecast usage, even factoring in the extra delivery you have been promised this morning, and even by asking hard working staff to only change when absolutely essential, means that you will likely run out within 9 days. What do you do?
For many of you reading this editorial, the idea of imagining such a situation is unnecessary. What’s more, if you were watching our uplifting HealthChat featuring Northumbria NHS Trust and their response to exactly that scenario – you know how they approached the crisis:
Do The Right Thing
So they built a factory and warehouse from scratch. They recruited furloughed local machinists, designers, textile fabricators and specifiers typically used to making curtains, sofas and socks for retailers and inspired them to work making PPE for the Trust. They bought 6 million feet of fabric and 60 people are now benefitting from employment provided by Northumbria in the factory and warehouse. Moreover, from decision to start to first product available was under a week. Crisis averted and a story sure to attract Hollywood producers. In case you are wondering, it is a not for profit organisation.
Last week’s IHM Integrated Care Conference was extremely well attended and Professor David Loughton (CEO of Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust and IHM member) issued only one comment when I asked him how his own organisation’s approach to integrated care in the West Midlands was conceived:
Do The Right Thing
Integrated care systems can easily be wrapped up in a bundle of obstacles, bureaucracy and territorial defence. David has been working with compatriots within the city council, primary care, third sector and CCGs for years. For them, an integrated approach is just the right thing to do. So they got on with it and, to my mind, they have a wonderfully transferable template.
Last week also saw an immensely inspiring and moving HealthChat with CEO of the British Red Cross, the quiet but fiercely principled Michael Adamson. The thing that really stood out was Michael’s ability to bring the work of the Red Cross staff and volunteers alive through the stories that he told – many of which focused on heartbreaking references to what he called ‘layered’ case studies. The people who need help from the Red Cross are typically bound into a position of helplessness by a combination of anxiety, economic deprivation, social circumstances and food poverty, all of which make up the layers which his teams have to peel away. His big secret? That his people know the power of kindness in caring. When asked his guiding principle of leadership?
Do The Right Thing
Even with a £20m shortfall in donations during the last year he has striven to ensure that the services he provides are still available to the most desperate in our society even if, financially, it is very challenging to do so.
It strikes me that in these extraordinary times, when many of you are having to make very challenging decisions under very great pressure, the principle of DTRT stands you in very good stead – DO THE RIGHT THING. It may not be easy and it won’t always be popular but you’ll rest reassured that you didn’t listen to the maelstrom of conflicting forces trying to persuade you to do it differently. And therein is true leadership.
Finally, we have news – the IHM is developing a new website for you, designed to be much easier to navigate and find the content that you seek. We want the website to reflect our membership, so please consider sending us a photo of yourself in your workplace, landscape format, that we can use in the website.
Stay safe, stay strong and thank you for the brilliant work you are all doing.
We are only 22 days into 2021 and it already feels like too much has happened. Social care is going through the toughest time in it’s history, we are seeing increased outbreaks and sadly deaths. Workloads have become untenable with testing, vaccinations and simply keeping on top of guidance. On top of all that, storm Christoph has been causing havoc for many.
I know it is hard to believe right now but there is an end to this. I can’t tell you when, but it will come. In the meantime, we’re here for you, so please contact us if we can support you.
There are positives from this week too, the vaccinations are rolling out and the world has a new American President. “Out of the mountain of despair, a stone of hope” Martin Luther King, Jr.
On Wednesday we held the first meeting of the social care innovators group, and what a mix of people, so much energy. Opened by our very own CEO, Jon Wilks and co-chaired with me by Morten Mathiesen from Sekoia. We took a huge number of thoughts and comments and are now doing some virtual filing to pull out the themes. If you’d like to join us for future meetings, please drop me an email.
I was honoured to be interviewed for the first ever radio show for the social care workforce (Gratitude with Attitude, with Thank and Praise). There will be three episodes a year and the first one will be out in February; I’ll keep you posted.
Last week I asked you to seek out some time to laugh. This week I’m focusing on the power of music. For the radio show I was asked to pick a song to be played after my interview and it reminded me of some great times watching the band live (not giving it away). So, this week, I’d like you to select your 3 desert island discs – 3 songs that you love, or spark great memories, or make you want to dance & sing. All you have to do is find the time to play them. Could be on your own or to your family or colleagues. I’d love to know the songs you choose, please do let me know!
As ever, thank you for all that you do.
General Manager for Social Care