As this historic week draws to a close I sense the NHS is holding its collective breath.
Our biggest exhibition centre is being turned into a four thousand bed hospital. NHS people are being trained up, stepping-up and are up for whatever’s next.
The public are showing their admiration for the NHS by volunteering to help, in their droves.
At eight o’clock last night, did you stand on your door-step and applaud the NHS? Amazing, an ovation from the nation. I have to admit, it brought a tear to these dry-old-eyes.
The question we dare not whisper; is the NHS ready? It depends how you define ready.
PPE? You know, when the army are called-in, there really is an issue. My guess is, this will sort itself out by mid-week.
These are testing times… made more testing by the fact we aren’t testing anything like enough people. Instead of testing we’re guessing. Guessing about transmission rates, geography and all the rest.
I guess the answer to the question, the NHS is ready as it can be but… is the public?
People will end their days connected to a machine, surrounded by anonymous people, trapped behind masks and gowns. No chance to say goodbye, last memories, a picture on an iPad.
Tenderness and technology are unlikely companions.
If you love someone, don’t waste a moment. Tell them today… now.
Ventilators? Normally, people need them for three to five days. The longer they are in use, the less likelihood of a good outcome. Covid patients might need them for 11-21 days.
A lot of people on ventilators, for a long time? Thirty thousand machines might not be enough.
Are there any plusses? Yes…
… we’re learning we can look after patients using our smart phones, we know we don’t need to spend a fortune on offices, we’ve all got a kitchen table.
We know we can, sensibly, share data and no one gets hurt… they are more likely to get hurt if we don’t.
We know we will look back and say, that was a Covid-Change.
We have weeks of this ahead of us. We will learn new things about the NHS, about medical science and about ourselves.
What about next week?
We know you will start work earlier and stay later, you’ll certainly work harder. Many of you will working for less and a huge number will be working for nothing… volunteering.
If you are a boss, you will redefine ‘visible’. You will make sure you are seen. Seen being constructive and helpful and smiling and positive. Yes, that’s your role now.
Attitude is so important. This is not something ‘to get through’ this is the new reality, for the foreseeable. This is about getting into it. The new normal.
Standards will change but they will only drop as far as you let them. Set your own. Be at ease with yourself.
Younger colleagues are the ones to be with. Tech-native, keep them close they’ll have the ideas, the work-arounds. They’ll teach you how to do future-working, today.
As times get tougher, your best allies will be found in teams, collegiate working and mutual respect.
If you’ve never been a networker, now is the time. Keeping in touch with friends and family, of course but keeping in touch with professional colleagues through the IHM, the Academy of Fabulous Stuff and all the other great organisations who exist to offer advice, innovation and support.
As the focus is on deliveries there is one thing that only you can deliver, by the truck-load, yourself… it is a mega-load of ‘thank-you’s’ and ‘well-done’s’.
There will be backs that need patting, find them. Not an email. Make a phone call, better still, FaceTime; personal, a quiet, shared, private moment of calm, thoughtful thanks and well-done.
Remember, you are who you hang-out with. Avoid the gloom mongers, the nit pickers and the nay sayers.
Everywhere there are good people, just like you, doing their best and like you they will drop the ball, make a mistake, get something wrong.
Before you shout, stop and think. These are tricky times and next time it might be you.
Get some rest, if you can, keep safe because we need you, I’ll see you next week…
… and have the best weekend you can.
News and Comment from Roy Lilley