Please let me not be ill this winter

Dulce et decorum est…

So this year I decided UK Congress was a step or two too far in Brighton. And expensive, what with rail and hotels.

But I’ve been getting the tweets. So I know many of my friends and fellow activists have been there. Speaking out, listening, exchanging experiences and ideas, regenerating, recharging…

I saw on Twitter today a list of all the things that Chris Roberts has been doing, thoroughly deserving his award for best dementia activist, or whatever it was. How the hell do you do it?

(Jayne…you’re great.)


Back in Shropshire…we’re working on our new co-produced model of…what?…for people living with dementia and carers, in Shropshire.

Is it care? No. It’s more like enablement. Everything that should be put there for us, available to all of us, known about by all of us, accessible by all of us…

I was at a Healthwatch Shropshire meeting yesterday, entitled working together. We had various system leaders from the local health economy…

They almost all told us that there is great work in Shropshire.

Neighbourhood integrated teams for health and social care are being developed…

Lots of dementia cafes and peer groups…

Futurefit acute remodelling to go out to consultation next month…


Futurefit is in tatters and likely to be delayed again, possibly abandoned.

There’s been no progress in developing community based healthcare in the last three years.

No more than 5% of people living with dementia ever access the support groups and cafes.

So let’s cut the crap.

There is of course great work out there, especially the commissioned dementia advisers but, again, these advisers work with a small percentage, because they don’t get enough funding for more.

Wherever I go, and whether it’s about dementia or other healthcare, or social care, it’s always the same, the same old lie, as Wilfred Owen put it in Dulce et Decorum Est…

It’s sweet and fitting to die for your country…


We’re doing lots of great work to support people living with dementia…our social care services are really transforming into partnership working, and enabling local communities to work together…

Yah Yah. jaw. jaw.

The STP that will include the care and support provided for people living with dementia is secret. No collaboration. Spending is being cut in social care by 75%.

The NHS is falling apart. I watch and work alongside staff here who just cannot cope, who go home in tears, who become sick, trying to provide care for us.

It’s not their fault that our local leaders are incapable of innovation, transformation, clarity of thought, and co-operating. What did someone say yesterday?

The STP is a temporary suspension of hostilities between organisations who hate each other.


For god’s sake, people are dying unnecessarily in A&E. It’s unsafe. You ain’t got enough consultants. Do something. Get balls.

Patients with dementia are being put on wards which are totally inappropriate.

Did they know winter was coming this year?

I know, it’s odd. And I’d love summer to last longer. These dark evenings, cold, frosty, windy this weekend, wet…

This afternoon I was on the Aldi car park putting the shopping away. In the dark. Cold. It’s absolutely horrible.

But the seasons do tend to come and go in a fairly predictable rhythm.

So at the acute hospital we have a winter planning group. Ward moves this weekend, to create forty new beds. An escalation ward in a day surgery building. Promises of maximum numbers of patients. They’re doing their best?

We know it’s all lies…”the old lie…” Owen said…

Numbers will escalate because…well, because managers will put people there.

It’s time to stop. Say no.

Humankind only solves difficult problems after the crisis has happened, when disaster arrives.


Looking down the barrels of a gun concentrates the mind.

So say no. No more.

I told a meeting, patients would prefer to have operations postponed than be in an unsafe, chaotic ward. And that’s what will happen.

Despite the best efforts of wonderful nursing staff.

I think all health care managers should have to have had a minimum three day stay in hospital as a condition of employment. And probably an enforced ward stay, every year.

New appraisal target. There you go. Radical. But pound for pound a fine investment.

ROI? 1000%

At least visit the wards. See what you are doing to them.

Sod the targets. Sod the NHSE. Sod NHSI.

It’s about people, patients, and safety.

When it breaks people will have to mend it. At the moment they’re all either praying, or looking away.

Boards, gird up your cahones…say no. No more.

There are a huge number of people at exec level paid a lot of money who need to say…

No more.

We’ve been pretending for a long time.

Execs toe the line. The party line.

They tell us what they want us to hear. It’s ok. It’s safe. We’ll get through. We’re doing a good job in difficult circumstances.


No more.

I could cry. I do cry.


I’m an activist. I work to improve what I feel passionately about.

I take the long view. You don’t change the world overnight, or all at once.

Eating an elephant is a slow project, but I’m getting up the first leg.


Yesterday I went to an end of life conference at our acute trust: “one chance to talk”.

It was moving, informative, world changing for people dying and their families….

Fabulous speakers…passionate activists…social change agents…doctors, nurses, AHPs, carers…

I’ve said to a few people recently…looking around my local trusts…

I see wonderful work, wonderful care, wonderful staff…and

Chaotic, unsafe care, inadequate staffing, confusion…

And I pray that I won’t be ill this winter.



3 thoughts on “Please let me not be ill this winter

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