149,988 members

Skip to content. | Skip to navigation


Clinical bonding before the big freeze


Blog headlines

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Clinical bonding before the big freeze

There was more love in the air than usual at the annual conference of the National Association of Primary Care (NAPC) this week.

Johnny Marshall, the NAPC’s handsome chairman, warmly welcomed Michael Dixon, his opposite number at the Alliance, to his first but surely not his last NAPC conference. They may well have exchanged loving glances.

Not that Johnny and Mike are about to move in together. The much rumoured marriage of the two big GP clubs has been hotly denied despite the existence of a Clinical Commissioning Coalition that has the two doctors singing a duet in every press release they issue. Sometimes they are even attributed the same quote, lending a touching sense of unity, if not authenticity, to their pronouncements.

But while Johnny may have done the courting, it is Charles who will be left holding the baby. The ebullient Charles Alessi is the NAPC’s chairman elect and the “other man” in the increasingly tangled web of primary care liaisons. 

Sir David Nicholson, the other man in everybody’s life, made it clear where he stood as he gazed down with paternal affection on all the clinical bonding. “Moving the centre of gravity to a local level is difficult,” he said gravely. “Sometimes you will do things that look odd.” Then as if to illustrate the point, he added: “We shouldn’t run off into our corners and get on our tweets, or whatever we do these days.” 

Later, the conference dinner looked for all the world like a scene from David Attenborough’s Frozen Planet. A colony of male penguins squawked and cackled its way through dinner accompanied by women as sleek and lovely as young seals. Watching them scoff and quaff the evening away, it was comforting to think that these animals at least would be well placed to survive whatever the arctic winter of the NHS was about to throw at us all.

As the great and good pushed back their chairs and sucked in their shirtfronts after the coffee, the dancefloor was soon teeming with life. These creatures, so ungainly on land, proved they could be just as awkward set to music. Their writhing and arrhythmical jerking might have been a primordial mating ritual, or a symbolic acting out of the closer and more meaningful relationships from which tiny bouncing CCGs are to be conceived. Or it may simply have been the proof of Sir David’s prediction that doctors would soon find themselves doing odd things.

Sir David himself was nowhere to be seen. But as the disco lights gave the dancefloor the shimmering appearance of a melting ice floe, there was a sense that the vast bulk of a killer whale was circling silently below.  


areevesguy says:
Nov 04, 2011 09:27 AM
I realise that it must be very difficult to address a network of Health Professionals - trying to engage their interest, entertain and inform, all at the same time. However this editorial failed to do any of these things. The attempt at wit and satire was distracting and irritating, getting in the way of the message. The "getting into bed with each other" metaphor was crassly stretched way too far and just felt uncomfortable to read.
I am sorry to sound like an English teacher, but this article did the writer no favours at all. Please use the imagery a little more sparingly and show better judgement, so that we can concentrate on the content.
matthew.butler@slam.nhs.uk says:
Nov 04, 2011 04:12 PM
Not bad - wouldn't be that out of place on R4 I suppose. Slightly pushing it for the NHS though ...
cjsnape@yahoo.com says:
Nov 04, 2011 11:04 PM
as a professional network I am looking for information and content, not meandering on the dance floor.
junglewright@btinternet.com says:
Nov 10, 2011 06:46 PM
As a glaciologist in a busy A & E department I find I have the mental capacity to seek all the information I need (or is available) from a variety of sources. That established, I have no need to jump on the bandwagon (or to keep it contextual the sleigh perhaps) of criticism aimed at our blogger. To my mind, if anything, the analogies were a little too safe and I would have preferred to see more in the way of polar bears and the much underrepresented albatross (so rarely personified in literature these days).