We’re hearing a lot about following the science. If we could figure out what or which science, we might have an idea.
Masks, what science? The science that says, in over 20 countries, wear masks. Or our science that says; don’t bother.
Given up on science? Let’s try philosophy.
As we can’t know the unknowns, knowing that wearing a mask, might protect us from the unknowns, I know, it seems like a good bet.
Philosophy does all the simple stuff; is the universe real, do we have free will, does God exist, is there life after death, exactly what are numbers…
… and the daddy of them all. Why are we here?
It looks like we are here, to buy stuff from Ocado and Amazon, stay home, keep out of the NHS and try not to become statistic… simples.
Here’s another question; where are we?
Somewhere on a map, on a planet, in the middle of infinity. I could go on forever…
Closer to home; where are we? Where, actually, are we? Are we any closer to being unlocked? I doubt it.
Where are we? Truthfully, I’d say; in the foothills of this pandemic. We might be past the peak but we are nowhere near the summit.
We still have the re-disorganisation of the NHS to go through. Clear-up about 6 million people on the waiting lists. Plus, Cancer patients’ treatment programmes. Return training grades back to uni, to finish a training that will seem superfluous, after everything they’ve seen and done.
Dealt with retired clinicians who have enjoyed being back and want to stay. Sorted out the supply chain and flogged-off rather a lot of ventilators.
Of it all, there are three things that we will want to keep. Must keep and it will be a travesty if we don’t. A crime, even.
The first is a new type of teamwork. So much has been written about the dynamics of teams. The Battle of Covid 2020 has redefined everything we know about teams.
I’ve renamed it; togetherwork.
I used to say team-working takes time. Under all normal circumstances, it does. Football teams train for longer than they play, competitively. The army trains and trains for months and years before they go to war.
We put six people in a room, meet once and call it a this or that team. They’re not. They’re a group.
Togetherworking is different. People have come together and gelled. Togetherworking, right from the G in go. How?
Knowing that you and you alone cannot solve this huge problem, sharing a wider objective and common purpose.
Simply; knocking at the door there’s a pandemic. No one person can keep it out but together we can repurpose, reorganise and stand a chance.
Clearing and repurposing 33,000 beds was a huge task that involved clinicians, estates and managers in the planning. Porters, estates and the private sector in the doing and people across the NHS agreeing to work differently. Orthopaedic surgeons figuring out how to work a ventilator and ITU nurses showing them.
Not silo working, not precious egos, not seniority. This was us, we and togetherworking.
The second spectacular success, the adoption of new technology.
For years, reluctant clinicians have baulked at video consultations. Controversial for medics, controversial for commissioners, controversial for the regulators.
All that’s gone.
Now, almost every part of the NHS is offering patients video alternatives, staff are meeting online and working from home. Boards, Zooming into action. Chief executives supporting each other in WhatsApp groups.
In fact, part of the reason we haven’t had a PPE collapse is the work done behind the scenes, fixing shortages by sharing, using WhatsApp.
Finally trust. The best way to find out if you can trust someone, is to trust them. In times like these, without trust, life becomes impossible.
We know the NHS can be trusted, more than politicians, TV journalists, newspapers… because the people in it can be trusted, and they trust each other.
Where are we? Not knowing the long-term damage to the economy and people’s sanity?
The NHS has given us miracles, people have delivered the impossible and worked in new ways. There will be no going back.
Where are we, right now? I’d say we are in very bad times but a really good place.
News and Comment from Roy Lilley