Part kafkaesque, part national treasure, part...drudgery. The NHS is a collection of policy and frameworks centered around a dying ideology. Its services range from misplaced martyrdom - peddled by micro-managed, do-gooders - to life-saving interventions, including my cancer treatment.
The NHS is also my employer and is offering a relatively good amount of sick leave as long as I can negotiate the maddeningly meaningless jargon of occupational health. "You have an open door policy" is something I've heard quite a lot. It means: you'll get an appointment with somebody, based in your hospital, and who doesnt know much about your cancer, in about 6 weeks' time. In the meantime, my specialist nurses are well aware of the symptoms I'm battling, as is my GP...but procedure requires occupational health nurses.
In the meantime, work carries in a heavily regimented and form-filled fashion, called "...putting the patient first", inspired by endless corn-balled acronyms that flank the corridors of disillusioned staff and patients. "Understaffed" - demonstrating a lack of resources and quoted as a sort of catch-all excuse - is used to explain away all the unnecessary beaurocracy and resistance to modern life (e.g Windows 7); as well as a 'points-based', 'banded' pay structure that makes staff feel like warring soilders on "the front line".
All wars are combative situations, with "us" and "them" - front-line follow orders, generals reign supreme - patients are often seen as the enemy. This has been a difficult position for me, it's not good bridging the gap between patients and staff. Lip-service is paid: "...my experiences have given me valuable insight and empathy skills"; however, trying to reform guidelines on how "bad news" is handed over has been met with a lot of resistance. From making sure guidelines state that information shouldn't be withheld, to pushing senior staff to handover possible cancers, I have had to fight and make a nuisance of myself- concessions appear...very slowly.
As somebody straddling both sides of the knife-edge, I really implore you all to SPEAK UP. Please believe me when I say that change cannot happen without you.
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