Sunday, 6 September 2009

Robot Nurses and the Schizophenics, I don't think so!

What a week. We have management consultants telling us 1 in 10 health care workers will need to lose their jobs if the NHS is to achieve a balanced budget. My old friend and mentor Professor Joel Richman had some choice words to say about the NHS spending enormous sums of money on management consultants. I think he would have turned in his grave this week hearing the debate. Interestingly, The Times, this weekend was absolutely in his camp, claiming such profligacy was on a par with the payment of bankers bonuses. I agree, and I do get depressed about such blatant ‘let’s see what the punters think’ attitude to managing policy.

The other depressing occurrence this week was the BBC, (unfailingly it seems) referring to Peter Bryant as a ‘schizophrenic’. I hate this way of describing anyone. Despite what he may have done, and in no way dismissing the distress his actions have caused to others, he is suffering from a serious mental illness. He is not a label, and affliction, a disease. He is a person, albeit very troubled. I feel someone at the BBC needs to ask the question why, as a major news organization, they continue to persistently see only the illness and not the person.

My Mum has booked her first holiday on-line. This is maybe not a particularly newsworthy item on its own. However, this is a great leap forward in using new technology. Media City it’s not but its interesting how on the edge of becoming dependent upon others my parents have suddenly got a new lease of life that is predicated upon being independent.

Independence and dependence are such interrelated dynamics. Its something I wondered about when I first heard about the new Japanese invention – the Robot Nurse – this weekend. Having been concerned that we are educating out the essential emotionally of nursing the notion of a robot nurse is an anathema. It certainly made me think again about the huge investment we have made in our high fidelity manikins. In any event, if we need robot nurse who was it that thought it would be a good thing to give it the face of a Teddy Bear?