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Matt Hancock’s diary: winning over the nurses

 
Friday, 15 March 2019

Matt Hancock’s diary: winning over the nurses

Another big week for the secretary of state for health and social care, captured for posterity in his diary and shared exclusively with NHS Networks

Big speech to the nurses’ conference later this week.

Lucinda warns me they could turn nasty. They’re cross about pay, bursaries, staff shortages, Brexit and so on. Nothing I can’t handle.

Still, forewarned is forearmed, so I spend a while on Youtube getting up to speed. Sit through some training videos featuring a character named Lancelot Spratt. Jolly cove, but rather an overbearing manner – a bit like Boris when there are no cameras around.

Jot down a few ideas for off-the-cuff remarks. Must remember to mention personal experience – always goes down well. Still remember the names of the nurses when I had my tonsils out, etc.  (I don’t, of course, but no one will know.)

I’ll soon have them eating out of my hand.

*         *         *

Brexit is dragging on. Honour and privilege to be a member of the greatest institution in the world, but really can’t understand why Parliament can’t pull together on this for the sake of the country. Seems pretty simple to me. We just need to get behind the PM’s deal, whatever it is.

Very bored with all the voting and long evening sessions going over the same ground. Pass the time googling Churchill quotes and posting statesmanlike tweets. Need to show support for the boss. Plus it doesn’t do the old CV any harm.

Bump into JH in the lobby and tell him I’d be up for a crack at the top job when the boss gets the heave-ho. He laughs supportively and gives me a friendly pat on the head.

Good chap, Hunt. He can have his old job back if I get the number 10 gig. He just needs to stay away from doctors next time.

*         *         *

Cometh the hour, cometh the Matt.

Give a fantastic speech to the nurses, even if I say so myself.

Lucinda told me they want to be taken more seriously, which is something I completely empathise with.

Nursing is “mission-critical”, I say, starting as I mean to go on.

They can hardly believe it when I tell them I know of hospitals where nurses are expected to stand up and curtsey when doctors enter the room. It’s shocking to think that still happens in the NHS. Not for much longer if I have my way.

Staff shortages are something else I promise to fix as soon as we’ve got Brexit out of the way. I know a lot of foreign nurses have gone home, which is too bad, but we should see it as an opportunity for new home-grown talent to come through.

Nice to see a few men in the room. Presumably some of the nurses have come with their boyfriends. I joke that maybe some of them could consider nursing too – and why not? This is the 21st century after all.

It’s also good to see a lot of the audience on their phones during my speech. Tweeting the highlights no doubt. It means my tech message is really getting through. 

The applause has barely died down before Ruth May, the chief nurse, calls me a cab to make sure I’m not late for my next appointment. As I leave, she is incredibly grateful. People usually are.

Diary editor: Julian Patterson

julian.patterson@networks.nhs.uk
@NHSnetworks

 
Kiera Walker
Kiera Walker says:
Mar 15, 2019 04:02 PM

'Googling Churchill quotes.' Ah, that's made my day. Brilliant.