I’m going to be a ‘Citizen Journalist’ at Future of Health 2014!

October 29, 2014 at 10:11 am | Posted in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) | 5 Comments

That’s my exciting news – so please follow me on Twitter: @Pollannpenguin – note the spelling – Pollyann not Pollyanna! What is a ‘citizen journalist?’ I hear you cry. Well, I’m not entirely sure yet and I’m not entirely sure that the Future of Health organisers are entirely sure either, but I think I can sum it up quite safely as ‘official twitterer’, or perhaps ‘official tweeter’ if you prefer. I like official twitterer better – I think it has a nice ring to it.

Now your next question, or perhaps actually your first question, is probably ‘What is Future of Health 2014’? It’s a biiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiig conference, held in Olympia, London, run by NHS England and University College London, with various other partners and sponsors of course, and the theme this year is all about getting above the rhetoric and the finances to try to look at person-centered healthcare – treating the patient as an individual etc. Well, if you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time you’ll know that’s something I’m ‘passionate’ about. (Although I hate the use of the word passionate in that sense, I think it’s justified here!)

How many posts have I got on here complaining about not being treated as an individual? Where do I start? Well, there was the time (actually times) my consultant pointed out, not for the first time, that I was ‘better off than most people I see in here.’ Then there were all time times the junior nurse ‘processing’ us prior to appointments made us feel like ducklings, or perhaps more like Turkeys at Christmas. There are lots of posts like this, but then that post ended fairly positively, and so did some others, like this one where I thought I’d fallen down Alice’s rabbit hole into NHS Wonderland. So, why can’t it always be like that? Well, lack of resources, long hours for nurses etc. And of course the NHS is broke.

So, I’m really looking forward to seeing if Future of Health 2014 can get beyond the rhetoric and beyond the finances and into the heads of people who say ‘Oh, I see worse than you all the time’ or show a complete lack of interest in their patients, or can’t be bothered to read the notes, or employ people who can’t actually speak or understand English well enough to help, and actually change things. I can’t wait!

Oh, and as an added bonus Ben Goldacre of Bad Science fame is talking, so that should be good too!



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  1. Absolutely grand! They couldn’t have picked a better person for the job! Congratulations!

  2. Aaw, thanks Carla! 🙂

  3. Very exciting! Do you get to input to any sessions, eg by asking questions?
    I wonder whether they’ll be discussing what makes the difference between the health person who asks questions, listens, and offers solutions based on what they’ve heard; and the person who knows what outcome they want before the patient’s entered the room, is preparing what they want to say while the patient is talking (instead of listening), and therefore sends the patient away without helping their condition much.
    Could part of the answer be time pressures? I’ve been seeing a lot of healthcare people in Derby, and only one has really been the second type. The common feature is that they all have had way more time to engage with me than healthcare professionals in London. Despite their expertise often being less than some of the London people, I’ve received much more effective healthcare because it is actually tailored to me – resulting in measurable improvements to my mobility, strength and function. Who’d have thought?

  4. Hello Mrs M! I do get to ask questions, and I get to put one in before the conference, so I’ll try to phrase this one slightly less contentiously (!) and put it in. I’m convinced two huge issues are time pressure and ‘company culture’ e.g. If the practice manager or head doc, or head nurse in a hospital department is a hard-nosed b—– interested in targets, not patients, it rubs off!

  5. Hello again Mrs M. My official question to ‘inform the speech’ of the Chief Exec of NHS England was: How does a person-centred approach, which requires time to both read notes and listen to patients, fit in with the intense time pressures experienced today by staff across the NHS? I was allowed 30 words and used them all up. Now to see if he actually covers this in his speech or not – my guess is not, but I’ll find out in a couple of weeks’ time!

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