I have had a fascinating week this week. no honestly. Monday saw me at the UK council of Caldicott Guardians where I represent Primary Care for England (someone has got to do it) and we had a debate about what the future holds for the group which is an association of volunteers with statutory status but no powers. That may well change soon as there has recently been a post created by government that is the National Data Controller. Initially to be held by Dame Caldicott: she will have powers so the position of the council will likely change in relation to that. However, from the point of view of cases discussed we talked about the need to have secure yet accessible notes for patients on wards. We determined that notes that were classified as, in use, should be kept safe and secure but this would be dependent on the nature of the ward work e.g. if it was in ITU then the notes would be best placed at the bedside at all times and easily accessible there, whereas in less acute wards they should be tidied and locked away unless actually needed. One suggestion was that all notes could be kept in a locked box at the foot of the bed and that the patient should have control of who should have access; although this was a neat solution it was also recognised that in terms of development we should al be working towards having no paper notes at all. The next discussion was about legal enquiries where a patient may have given consent for information to be shared to the solicitor but that they might not realise that other details could be included pertinent to the episode under investigation; obviously these sorts of things are usually of a sensitive nature, such as HIV status, drug use etc. There is never a right answer to these sorts of questions but it was agreed that a generic letter to all solicitor enquiries ensuring that they had made it clear to their client that full disclosure of confidential medical conditions could occur should be sent.
The next day I went to the Institute of Directors conference in London. I am currently doing the certificate course in company direction with them, and it is a chance to network in a non-medical, non-substance misuse arena. The day was held at the Albert Hall which was impressive in itself. I learnt that there are 32000 members of the IoD, although most of these are in the SE with only about 6000 in the north. There was a debate held between Nigel Lawson and Peter Mandelson about the future of the European Union. David Milliband talked about his work with the International Rescue Committee: he was really good with a moving and shocking film about the refugee crisis in Lesvos, and a clear presentation of the size of the refugee crisis globally and the need for a legal and consistent response from governments in the interests of global security. Then the Chief Exec of the Premiere League gave a great talk about the success and enormous revenue for the UK they command. He robustly and persuasively defended the use they made of international football talent especially in terms of the global reach and revenue creation that the international audience has. Then there was a talk on the future of Banking with some interesting stuff about Fintech (that is the new financial organisations that are turning up on the internet with crowdfunding and the like). Then the President of Google Europe gave a blinding speech on the enormous power, reach, and transformative nature of the internet in general and of course Google in particular.
Then in the afternoon the Chief Exec of the NHS gave a speech, Simon Stevens, and it was depressingly poor. I came away with no message, no understanding of the problems facing the NHS, and a definite sense that he was sort of making it up as he went along. Compared to the other speakers (other than the Lloyds banking group guy; who I didnt mention earlier as he was just saying they had to be steady and build trust again) there was no fiery message, no call to action other than the sensible idea that immigration for skilled workers, at a time when there is such a shortage, is a good idea; apparently according to the government ballet dancers currently hold a higher score for immigration than nurses at the moment. He was given some questions at the end and he seemed quite unprepared for these.
Finally Sir Ranulph Fiennes gave a whistle-stop tour of his life as an explorer. OMG he and his team (of 59 volunteers) are completely mental but amazingly impressive; he was really funny as well delivering great jokes in a completely dead pan way. The message I took away from him was that one of his motivators when the going got particularly tough was thinking he just could not give up as everyone else had devoted years of their lives to his endeavours and he could not let them down. A true lesson in community involvement and the importance of the group for the success of the individual.
I hope your week was as inspiring.