Sunday, 20 May 2012

Ferreting Around, Crowdsourcing, Smart Guides, Raiders of the Chicken Ark and 24 is the Answer

Last week was almost unbelievable in terms of animal encounters, which have included meeting a squirrel sitting by the side of the drive eating a slice of toast, and on Monday, when I was driving into the University, there in front of me was a large yellow and black ferret. It seemed quite happy just, well ferreting around. I was able to get my phone out and take shot. Seeing him was a wonderful start to the day.

And then first thing on Wednesday, while walking Cello (who is making a good recovery), there in the orchard was yet another ferret – this one almost golden coloured all over. Now a ferret at work is one thing, but a ferret being so close to the chickens at home is something else. They do not make good bedfellows. The coincidence of seeing 2 ferrets in the same week was a rum business or fesnyng as some people would say.

And the NHS has come up with a new way of getting lots of people to say something. The 15th of May (a red letter Day if ever there was one) saw the launch of a new web site as part of the NHS Patient Feedback Challenge. Backed by a £1 million pot against which NHS staff can bid, the PFC aims to spread best practice and ideas across the NHS. The web site will be used to collect ideas and support the development of bids for projects. Gathering ideas in this way has been described as crowdsourcing, and this crowdsourcing is a fundamental part of the bidding process. It allows organisations the chance to share ideas, convince other of the ideas value, get feedback to improve the ideas and build partnership links that will enable the spread of ideas more effectively.

So my hope is that someone comes up with an idea that makes it easier to get an appointment with a GPs. And a way that doesn’t rely upon us either being dead (or near dead) or well (or at least well on the road to recovery) before we are granted an appointment for our 7 minute consultation. It’s inexplicable to me that this year we have the prospect of 1000 graduate junior doctors facing unemployment as there are too few foundation posts available to allow them to complete their final training. It cost the taxpayer £260,000 to put each of these medical students through university. Most will leave the profession, adding to the problem of anyone getting to see a GP in a timely fashion.

It’s probably just as well that last week saw the publication of 3 more Smart Guides to Engagement. These guides are aimed at everyone working in or with clinical commissioning groups. The guides have been written by experts to provide straightforward advice on all aspects of patient and public engagement in an easily digested format and are great fun to read (well if you like acronyms that is, I have never seen so many in all my life!). You can down load copies from the NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement website. The one I liked best was entitled Listening, Learning and Responding, and was written by Dr Brian Fisher, who is both a GP and the patient and public involvement lead for the NHS Alliance. I have sent a copy the Smart Guide to my GP.

One other Smart Guide published this week was called Working with LINks (told you they like their acronyms) and Local HealthWatch, which given the news from Berkshire last week could perhaps have been re-titled Working with your Local Hen Watch. Apparently the new big crime wave is chicken theft, particularly from urban back gardens. Said to be a consequence of the recent EU ban on Battery Hen Farms, which has resulted in an exponential rise in the price of a half-a-dozen eggs. Somewhat ironically, the 9 stolen hens that were the feature of the report had all been rescued from the local battery hen farm.

Now as a result of my own personal crowdsourcing survey, I think raising the height of the chicken run fence is not the answer. The answer according to best practice is to locate the chicken house in a place where neither ferrets nor chicken thieves can get to. Inspiration for this is the newly opened swimming pool at the Holiday Inn in Shanghai. This cantilevered swimming pool provides guests with the feeling they’re swimming over the air. The one-of-a-kind swimming pool is located on the 24th floor of the hotel with nothing but a pane of toughened glass and long drop beneath them. For those who are interested the hotel also boasts an 24 hour on call medical care service.