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Let us pray


Blog headlines

  • UK’s National Health Service teams up with the Radio Society of Great Britain to improve health and wellbeing
    4 March 2021

    This week's blog is by Paul Devlin, Emergency Care Improvement Support Team (ECIST), NHS England and NHS Improvement.

  • Structuring a PCN Social Prescribing Service for the post COVID world
    25 February 2021

    This week we have a blog by Nick Sharples.

  • Community-Oriented Integrated Care
    18 February 2021

    The blog this week is a short extract from a paper considering an approach primary care networks could use to move towards community-oriented integrated care.

  • Strategy Unit releases opensource model for planning vaccine centre capacity
    11 February 2021

    This week's blog is from The Strategy Unit who are sharing an opensource model to help with vaccine centre capacity planning.

  • Time to talk day
    4 February 2021

    A small conversation about mental health has the power to make a big difference.

  • Supporting Staff: the emergence of ‘long-covid’
    28 January 2021

    As we are now well into a second, or is it now the third, wave of Covid-19 it is becoming apparent that Covid is something we have not experienced before and it has unique implications for staff management. It is not just the possibility that staff may become acutely ill with the virus, but that for some they may go on to develop persistent debilitating symptoms that will affect their ability to go back to work. This article looks at the implications of long-covid for HR and service managers when looking to support health care professionals (HCPs) return to work.

  • Link of the week: Clinically-Led workforce and Activity Redesign (CLEAR)
    21 January 2021

    This week we are sharing a link to the Clinically-Led workforce and Activity Redesign (CLEAR) site that is funded by Health Education England.

  • So much more than an extra pair of hands
    14 January 2021

    The introduction of the additional roles reimbursement scheme for primary care networks has started to grow capacity in general practice to address the unsustainably high workload that has put so much pressure on GPs.

  • Primary Care Networks – how did we get here?
    7 January 2021

    This week we are sharing a blog by PCC’s chairman David Colin-Thomé.

  • A year like no other
    17 December 2020

    On 5 July 1948 the NHS was born, over the last 72 years challenges and changes have been remarkable but the service has probably never been tested as much as in the last nine months. There have previously been numerous re-organisations, multiple changes to hospitals, mental health services and a shift from the family doctor towards more integrated primary care services delivered by a range of professionals. However, rapid transformation of services to embrace digital technologies, and a shift change to work differently has been forced upon all areas of the health service this year.

  • Guest blog: David Hotchin
    11 December 2020

    This week we have a guest blog that was submitted to us by David Hotchin, written by a retired friend....obviously, he's used a little poetic licence.

  • What now for commissioning?
    3 December 2020

    By Professor David Colin-Thomé, OBE, chair of PCC and formerly a GP for 36 years, the National Clinical Director of Primary, Dept of Health England 2001- 10 and visiting Professor Manchester and Durham Universities.

  • What White people don’t see
    26 November 2020

    This year’s Black History Month (BHM) has, unfortunately, in its shadow another example of why campaigns like this exist.

  • Primary Care: Why don’t we talk about Racism?
    20 November 2020

    Rita Symons is an ex NHS leader who is now a leadership consultant, coach and facilitator. Her work is mainly in the NHS and she is an associate for PCC offering facilitation, coaching, strategy development and team development activities. She is a concerned but hopeful world citizen and combines work in the NHS with a board role in a non for profit organisation and an interest in writing.

  • Primary Care and the Health of the Public
    12 November 2020

    By Professor David Colin-Thomé, OBE, chair of PCC and formerly a GP for 36 years, the National Clinical Director of Primary, Dept of Health England 2001- 10 and visiting Professor Manchester and Durham Universities.

  • What now for primary care
    4 November 2020

    By Professor David Colin-Thomé, OBE, chair of PCC and formerly a GP for 36 years, the National Clinical Director of Primary, Dept of Health England 2001- 10 and visiting Professor Manchester and Durham Universities.

  • Boosting your resilience
    30 October 2020

    The last year has been a difficult one, who would have imagined last Christmas that we would have been in lockdown, with the NHS seriously tested by a global pandemic. So much change has happened and the resilience of people working in and with health and care services has been seriously tested. Resilience is our ability to deal with, find strengths in and/or recover from difficult situations. Its sometimes referred to as “bounceabiliy” – but bouncing in what way?

  • Link of the week: National Cholesterol Month
    23 October 2020

    Every month or week of the year seems to be an awareness week, October has more than its fair share.

  • New redeployment service offers talent pool of motivated, work-ready individuals
    15 October 2020

    People 1st International have shared some of the work they are doing to support people displaced from industries due to the Covid-19 pandemic. There is an opportunity for health and care services to benefit from this workforce.

  • Link of the week
    9 October 2020

    Article published in the BMJ looking at the ability of the health service to quickly bounce back to pre-Covid levels of activity and considers if it is desirable.

Friday, 8 March 2013

Let us pray

Like all secular societies we are obsessed with new religions. Food, television, beer, football and fashion have all had their turn. Now it’s the NHS, or Our NHS as we refer to it piously with appropriate capitalisation.

Our NHS has a lot in common with other established religions with the exception of a credible prophet.

There is no end of scripture telling us what to do, what to think and how to behave. No other religion is as prolific in its teaching of moral precepts, nor sets so many rules for every undertaking in life.

There are regulations and policies for everything from buying our daily bread (procurement) to loving our neighbour (engagement) and post Francis we can expect further instruction on the major thou-shalt-nots.

From now on, in a change to the usual policy, casting the first stone will be strongly encouraged where there are concerns about the welfare of any member or the congregation or the bullying preaching style of the clergy.

There are rituals to be observed: the constant cleansing of hands and places of worship, the use of incense to disguise unpleasant smells, particularly the smell of failure, the regular ringing of bells to herald change and the ceremonial wringing of hands when it regularly fails to materialise. 

There are powerful myths: the one about the service which shall forever be free at the point of use however prodigal it becomes, the one about being too important to fail, the one about being the envy of the world and the one about all those who work here entering a state of grace that they only forfeit if they take a job in the private sector.

Mock it at your peril. Like all organised religion, the NHS has no shortage of zealots easily inflamed by the disrespect of outsiders and non-believers but oblivious to the tenets of the faith, fundamentalists who will rip your beating heart from your chest to show you how much they care.

This is normal. All religions like to have an enemy at the gate. What they are doing to Our NHS is a welcome distraction from what we might have to do if the enemy ever went away.

NHS teaching is about the plight of the individual, the salvation of ordinary people from sickness and pain, but the institution, like a thousand churches before it, has become disconnected from the faith. There is a higher, more spiritual entity, something beyond mere healthcare for the devout to latch on to. It is Our NHS.

The evils of too much regulation and too much management are nothing new. Run any organisation this way and individuals lack the incentive to perform to the best of their ability or any sense of responsibility for their actions. Add a quasi-religious conviction about the pre-ordained virtue of the enterprise and their part in it and you absolve the workforce from moral responsibility too.

A crisis of faith may be just what we need to bring us to our senses.

jonathan.murfin@rehab.co.uk says:
Mar 08, 2013 07:02 AM
petergriffiths says:
Mar 08, 2013 08:56 AM
barryf says:
Mar 08, 2013 09:21 AM
The Pope can decide to retire but can't be made to retire. Just like the head of the NHS really.
Paul.Johanson@southeastcoast.nhs.uk says:
Mar 08, 2013 01:20 PM
Most people I know think it's now 'just a job'. It's a bit like being C of E - not really too sure whether any of the artices of faith are true any more, but still turn up for Christmas, weddings etc.
lye_david@hotmail.com says:
Mar 11, 2013 09:34 AM
What a good post. One extra comparison - the association between ill-health and "sin", which is now widespread in the NHS: if you are sick, then you must have been "bad" in some way.