Partha Kar

Changing services can actually be fun

Today was the start of something new. A transition clinic for type 1 diabetes patients moving from paediatric to adult services – another new project from the Portsmouth Diabetes Centre.

Based on feedback from the patients, we had decided to try something different.

Gone is the standard clinic set up, and waiting room waits. The parents came along with their kids, and the adult and paediatric teams mingled with them in the waiting room.

Following polite introductions, the adult team split up; some sat with the parents over a coffee, reassured that they would look after their ‘little ones’, some sat with the young teenagers offering an insight into the new gadgets, how we use social media, and gave them a welcome pack.

And you know what? It was fun.

There was no politics, no shadow from the Francis Report, no dispute over mortality data, no chest thumping about privatisation. This was simply about doing what we are supposed to do – look after people who need some help with the pathology they haven’t brought upon themselves.

Yes, it’s diabetes, but it’s not because they’re fat, or haven’t looked after themselves – it’s type 1 diabetes.

While driving back from work, it made me think what sort of a unique position I find myself in. I’m lucky to be in a position to influence a system which could make people’s lives better. I grew up in Calcutta, and was lucky to end up in the UK where people sometimes forget what they have.

If you work in a rural area of Bengal, you soon realise what this country offers.

Do I have any right to moan? No. Why waste time doing that when I can spend time trying to organise and negotiate better care for my patients.

The time to change is now, the time to stand up for one’s patient is now. I don’t want to turn around in 20 years and say “I should have done better”. It’s not my place to spend time criticising other services, but if we all simply tried a bit harder to do the right thing for the patient where we work I guarantee the sum total would be amazing.

In the words of Roosevelt: “Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing”. It’s worth giving it a try because all you have is just one chance to make it happen.

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2 Responses to “Changing services can actually be fun”

  1. byoung says:

    Diabetes transition clinics possibly not the best example as should be present in every medium sized hospital so not exactly innovative.There is a point,however, in that we as clinicians and our patients would be happier, if we had more time with our patients in clinic, instead of the usual assembly line where we not only doing our own clinics but our ST3s as well with no teaching time incorporated and our specialty colleagues in our dept who are likely to be clinical directors not willing to upset management for fear of losing out on their extra PAs are happy to let status quo continue. Time is precious and we waste most of it in NHS

  2. Partha says:

    The transition clinic is certainly not innovative, but enough evidence to suggest we don’t listen to patients when designing such services…thus the aim for this one was to make it less “threatening”.

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