Dr Blogs

Message can’t be diluted by misrepresentation

Hello, my name is Rob Webster.

The decision to ask Dr Kate Granger to close this year’s NHS Confederation annual conference was an easy one. I believe her insights about what we must treasure in the NHS and what needs to change are as important as the views of Simon Stevens and Jeremy Hunt. That is why she had a place on the main stage of the biggest and most important healthcare conference of the year.

That decision was vindicated by what I can only describe as one of the finest and most powerful speeches I have ever witnessed. It was a genuine privilege to hear Kate describe in a very balanced way her experiences as a doctor and a patient in the NHS. I am pretty sure every person in the audience felt the same. The silence in the Echo Arena during her talk; the standing ovation she received afterwards; and the outpouring of support on social media is strong evidence that I am right.

I was deeply saddened to see the way in which Kate’s messages, which are rooted in humanity and respect for the individual, have been reported by the Daily Mail. It is ironic that the Mail appears not to have listened to what Dr Granger actually said – treating Dr Granger with neither respect nor humanity, and failing to reflect the messages that she gave to the audience. They didn’t even spell her name correctly. She wrote on Twitter that the article made her “never want to speak again”.

As a service, we are looking to ensure that voices like Kate’s are heard. Alongside Kate, this year’s conference had staff and patient voices throughout. That’s because we are building on the dedication and commitment of staff and the public to the NHS whilst working on the areas we know we need to get better. This is one of them. My mission is to help make sure we get there.

Kate is a remarkable woman. She has made a huge impression on the health service – as a practising doctor and a campaigner for improving care. Watch her session. Talk about it, share it with friends and colleagues. Spread the word.

In years to come, I know “HelloMyNameIs” will be one of the fundamentals of the new NHS and we will have one person to thank: Dr Kate Granger.

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