8th December 2015

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Health Chat

14th January King's Fund 5.30pm

Professor Sir Cyril Chantler

What experiences, what tales he has to tell! 

The inside story of the history of the NHS and what next!

Tickets here.

Goose bump good
News and Comment from Roy Lilley
When a building burns down the wisest thing to do is to run like the blazes... in the opposite direction. Except if you are part of the fire brigade; you may well run into the burning building to rescue some poor soul.
When the sea is boiling the best thing to do is to make your way to safe harbour. Except if you are in the RNLI, in which case you may launch your rescue boat, plunge into the foaming gale and pluck a luckless day-tripper from the arms of Neptune.
The RNLI have always fascinated me. At about seven years old, on holiday, I remember watching the blue, orange and red Tamar craft swoosh down the slipway, claxon sounding, throttling up to 25 knots and bouncing through the waves on an errand of mercy. Oh, how I wanted to be on board! A street-kid from London... no chance.
If you live within a shout of a lifeboat station you can subscribe to a text alert that will tell you when the boat is launched.
The RNLI is a charity; receives no government funding. There are 4,600 volunteer lifeboat crew around the UK and many more doing shore and backroom jobs.
When the alarm is raised crews drop everything and rush to the launch. They used to use pagers but more recently they have switched to a dedicated radio based system, hence you can have a text alert.
It is astonishing, to me, that such vital work is left in the hands of uncertain funding, charities and volunteers. It's very like the air ambulance service. One bit of me says this is a public service and we should all pay for it. The other bit of me says keep away from government, regulators and malarkey; it works fine how it is.
The community doing it for themselves.
Last week I was in Boston, Lincolnshire, at the fabulous Pilgrim Hospital. It's supposed to be 'struggling'. It is the victim of waring CCG's, geography, a melting local health economy, indifferent MPs, never-ending demand, all the usual recruitment problems and a turnover of the senior team that would make Premier League management look a sinecure.
Struggling? The only struggle I could see was the struggle to implement all the good ideas that were on display at their Fabulous Stuff Market. Nearly 30 good, solid, well thought through, replicable and scalable innovations every Trust could copy and benefit from. Some examples here, here, here and here.
One of their initiatives is The Lincolnshire Integrated Voluntary Emergency Service. LIVES; the community doing it for themselves.
The Trust struggles with a geography of 5,000 miles of winding, narrow country roads, only 23 miles of dual carriageway and the rest is a tourist, caravan, tractor, traffic jam.
LIVES Medics & First Responders are all volunteers (like the RNLI folk) who give up their time to respond to emergencies in their community. So, when you dial 999, not only will an ambulance be mobilised, but at the same time, the LIVES Medic or Responder on call in your area will be told that you need help.
First Responders are alerted by the ambulance service to attend patients with, for example, breathing difficulties, suspected cardiac arrest, collapse or chest pain within their local community.
First Responders will provide immediate basic life support with oxygen and defibrillation, in the vital first few minutes whilst the ambulance ladies and gentlemen struggle though the impossible road network.
They can also provide support and reassurance to relatives.
First responder training is at four levels and can become very sophisticated. They work on a rota system and are called out via mobile phone or text message.
They've saved lives, learned new skills and centred the community on looking after each other.
Struggling? Struggling my backside. Pilgrim are struggling no more than the majority who are called upon to do more work than anyone planned and no one will fund. Struggling, to find staff in a low density populated area of mainly seasonal and transient workers.
I'm struggling. Struggling to find the words to properly tell you how inspired I was by the fabulous front-line, the ideas, the innovation and the willingness to do new things.
Goose bump good!
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>>  I'm hearing - GP leaders are worried that the population based MCP contracts may be irreversible.  They are probably right; the NHS is not going back to the corner shop. 
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