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Not all doom and gloom....

05-March-2013 0:00
in General
by Dr. Jenny King

Not all doom and gloom………

The current state of affairs in the NHS, rather like the British weather, feels relentlessly grim and everyone is talking about it. People try to solve the seemingly insoluble in the course of a passing conversation in the lift or the canteen. Everyone has a view; no-one has a solution. Sadly, much less attention is being devoted to the countless episodes of exemplary care, positive attitude, compassion and outstanding leadership that are all still present in the NHS. Rather like the few warm sunny days in the British calendar, these episodes are overshadowed by the storms.


I was reminded of the “sunny days” when I ran a workshop last week in the Wessex region.  It was designed to help educational supervisors and clinical tutors to become more effective with doctors in need of support. I have spent a  30 year career training, assessing and coaching doctors and the participants were among the most interested, positive and engaged that I have had the pleasure to work with. They came to learn; they wanted to get things right for the trainees and colleagues who for various reasons, may have got themselves into difficulty; they were non-judgemental yet also committed to having the difficult conversations; and they showed insight at their own lack of skills and confidence in tackling some of the thorny issues with colleagues. While most such audiences roll their eyes at the mention of the word “role-play” and invariably criticise those sessions in the course evaluations, these groups got stuck in and not only visibly improved their skills, under the supportive tutelage of their colleagues, but appeared to have a great deal of (appropriate!) fun in the process.


It is, I am sure, no coincidence, that every group of consultants that has come through these workshops (4 cohorts in the last 2 years) has been of a similarly positive attitude. It speaks volumes about the culture of the Trust which, as we all know, comes from the top. The “can-do” attitude (clearly evident in the Director and Deputy Director of Medical Education, the HR team and the Medical Director, all of whom took an active role in these workshops, clearly percolates through to those they want to inspire and enthuse.


Let’s not forget that there is excellent practice still going on every single day in the NHS and those people will need more support than ever to encourage them to continue those efforts.

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