Values

Thank you, Wendy for the comment to yesterday’s blog. You mentioned the close-shave in my awakening to the values.

And, you are one hundred per cent correct.

If the values are at odds, you can’t go anywhere.

It is ironic, for within the NHS, values are so pivotal to everything that happens – the good and the bad. The establishment in 1948 of universal, free at the point of receipt healthcare reflected a societal value that has survived; just.

Three years ago, following the initial interview, I was advised that I didn’t have a future in the organisation, that, if I wanted to do anything meaningful, I should look elsewhere. The perception was that my values were not aligned with those of the higher-ups.

I didn’t heed the call. I know it’s not the organisation, for the place is made-up of amazing people who hold it together, who walk through the snow, juggle childcare and home-life to arrive for shift, who sacrifice, smile, care, feel the pain of others, and yet, when we consider ‘organisation’ we often end-up talking about those who are in positions of authority – the leaders, directors, managers. This seems unfair.

Yet, it is these folk who through dint of ambition and sometimes talent find themselves as the decision makers, the wayfarers who attempt to unravel the noise that carries disproportionate sway. And if, within this cohort there is a bad-egg or two, well, what can you do?

Wendy, referring to values was something I considered three years ago – I reflected on the irony of the trust’s expressed values – putting patients and staff first and, the lived values where around me colleagues were taken-out, prematurely retired, shifted to places not of their choice, manipulated into finding other jobs.

A sort of professional refinement; distillation; like the making of flour. The chaff is discarded and only the essence remains, the wisps of spirit that are adequately valued, carry-on. The remainder is land-fill.

And where does this leave you?

Essence of Groupthink.

Eau d’ blinkers.

And perhaps if you are special you go on fighting regardless; Robben Island here I come!

Yet, likely, the best approach is to accept the inevitable.

That you can’t divert the flow of the river without adequate resources. Yes, you have friends, colleagues, patrons and patients, but their leverage in this system is tiny in comparison to the machinations of the few.

It is frustrating but true.

I go back to Grenfell.

It was likely a tiny cabal who sat in a room and calculated the potential saving from dodgy cladding versus a more meaningful renovation. That is just the way it is.

We are all victims, one way or another.

By accepting victimhood however, this is not giving-up, this is saying, the strategies we have employed to date have not worked. We’ll find another way.

Ars longa, vita brevis, as Hippocrates said.

This is not a notice of giving-up; sure, it is a statement of change of direction, but, no more.

The challenges still exist, they are out there in ever increasing number, their complexity growing by the day.

Come now, let’s be having you; square go!

 

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