My friend, Dr Sammy Batt-Rawden knows only too well the dangers of just keeping her chin up and carrying on. In this beautiful, but heart-wrenching TEDx talk, she tells her story.
Staff in the NHS (and indeed all our public services) are working against a tide of a huge rise in public demand, funding constraints and dangerously low staffing levels for what is required. The old edict to ‘keep calm and carry on’ simply misses the point. There isn’t a culture of shirking responsibility in the NHS. People are going way above and beyond every day, and it is taking it’s very real toll. Yes, we need to increasingly develop cultures of joy and kindness in how we work, but there must be determined change by leaders in the Government to ensure that the buck is not passed when it comes to who is responsible for ensuring the wellbeing of our clinical teams across the UK. Teams are already doing much to take care of each other and themselves, and yet staff surveys across the UK show that absenteeism is increasing, along with burnout and morale continues to decline. Do the maths!
Listen to Sammy’s story and let’s change the tone of the conversation so that we can work on practical solutions together. Those solutions will include everyone. Part of the solution lies with learning to work radically differently with our communities. Some of it lies within our choices of how we use the health service. There is of course work to do in how we care for people who work across the NHS and set good working patterns. But there is still much work to be done by those in power to think more carefully about where and how budgets are spent. The new spending plan for the NHS pays very little attention to safe staffing levels or staff development – it needs much more care and attention.
I’m so grateful to Sammy for changing the nature of this increasingly important conversation: