A morning in the ‘pool

Just waiting for the NHS NW Graduate Training Scheme event to start, and wondering what to talk to the group about….late planning I know, it’s a theme that after 42 years I’m not going to shake.

A lot of the time I end up talking about all-things-Isaac to clinicians or student clinicians, rather than NHS Graduates.  These are the people that probably won’t ever change a tracheostomy, or PEG feed in their professional jobs, people who maybe won’t be making decisions about whether Isaac needs a bit of oxygen after an anaesthetic or deciding if he needs a different milk formula.

Therefore, do these folk make a difference?

I wouldn’t be here today if they didn’t.  The thing is, Isaac does not care less whether you are a commissioner, a bed manager, a HR person, a finance data analyst or whatever you are in the NHS.  He only cares about whether you care about him in the NHS.

If you’re the person in 5 years who makes the breakthrough for coordinating appointments so he doesnt have to be in Alder Hey and Royal Manchester Childrens Hospital at the exact same time for two different consultants (Isaac’s important but he’s not omnipresent), then Isaac will love you just as much as the person who suctions his trachy.  You’ve saved me and Lynsey a load of rigmarole of rearranging appointments, and you’ve probably saved Isaac having to miss another afternoon off school – because Clinic appointments are never NOT in school time.

If you’re the person who looks at a commissioning pathway in 10 years and says ‘that bit of the pathway has a huge gap, why don’t we ask a family how to solve it rather than making the same mistake again’ then Isaac and us will love you.  You’ll be the one who stops Isaac having gastrostomy surgery and ‘safe swallow’ assessment at Alder Hey but without feeding support being commissioned from them.  You’ll be the one stopping Isaac having to wait 4 months for a feeding specialist to be allocated from elsewhere in our county, 4 months of people trying to fix a knackered pathway whilst Isaac built an increasing intolerance of things being put near his mouth….

You never know, someone in the room might be the finance person who thinks ; actually rather than having 2 procurement routes for equipment – one for PEG supplies, one for trachy supplies) which means we field phone calls from Abbott Healthcare asking how many syringes of each size we need and then another supplier asking how many trachy tapes – we’ll design it so that there’s one point of contact.  If you are, you’ll have saved me running round the house with the phone in my hand counting effing syringes…my hero.

The NHS is an astounding thing, to which Isaac – and us – owe our lives.  Like any big organisation, there’s the capacity for it to ‘grow heads’ and things to spin off on courses never intended by anyone involved.  The new graduates have the amazing opportunity to pull some of these tangled strings back into a rational line if they want to.  As most things, whether they do it is up to each of them ; like Ray Lewis said ‘how much effort you make is between you, and you’.

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