Sunday, 7 June 2015


My meetings last week started at 05.00 with a virtual one with colleagues in Abu Dhabi on Monday morning. Then it was a quick drive to the station, travel down to London for a meeting with colleagues working on the Transforming Community and Primary Care Nursing project. Traveling back to Manchester allowed 2 hours of virtual office catch up before spending the afternoon at a 'Vision Think Tank' workshop. Monday’s early evening meeting was conducted over a meal at the Lime Bar at Media City, before arriving back at home 15 hours after leaving it that morning.

And so the week went on. 4 of my PhD student’s had scheduled supervision sessions, one was a new student just starting off and one was due to sit his viva later on in the month. I attended the University Council Audit and Risk Committee where a packed agenda was got through in just under 2 hours. I met with colleagues from 2 different local provider Trusts both of whom were interested in working in partnership to increase the numbers of students undertaking our Advanced Practitioner programme, and another Trust who were interested in establishing a cohort of non-NHS pre-registration nurses at their hospital.

Wednesday was a quieter day with back to back meetings and an evening meeting with a meal at Albert’s Shed with the Greater Manchester Deans Group. Thursday was a more frenetic day, but one where I was able to spend a couple of hours in the morning at the Zion Centre, Hulme, meeting the energetic and enthusiastic Nicky Lidbetter, CEO of Self Help Services (SHS), exploring how we might work more closely together. SHS is a charity that provides a range of primary mental healthcare services, and the approach adopted is one I could readily identify with. I hope this meeting will be the start of a very productive and creative relationship.

Later on that evening, I was involved in forging what I also hope will become a productive relationship. I was the Non-Executive Director member on an interviewing panel for the appointment of the next Clinical Director for Anaesthetics at Wrightinton, Wigan and Leigh NHS Trust. Such is the busy workload of many consultants the interviews could only be arranged for late afternoon/early evening. There were some cracking applicants, and we were able to make a very good appointment.

It was a busy week, but as it drew to a close, I felt a bit like Stanley Ipkiss. If he were me, (and of course he isn't) he might have said in describing my week: Sssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssmokin! Of course he wasn’t talking about cigarettes when he says this in the film The Mask, and those of you who have read this blog over the past few years will know that I sit very much in the anti-smoking lobby. So it was great to read the report last week, published in the European Respiratory Journal that the impact of the smoking ban (introduced in England in 2007) saw a reduction of over 11000 children being admitted to hospital with chest infections. And given that China has over 300 million smokers, it was also great to hear that smoking in public has now been banned in China’s capital, Beijing. Over 1 million Chinese die from smoking related illness every year. 

In a busy week, Friday was upon me before I realised it, and it was great to get to the House in Scotland and enjoy a glorious sunset. Unfortunately the weather deteriorated overnight, and yesterday there was a 40 mph gale blowing outside. And it was unfortunate as yesterday was also Food Town Day in Castle Douglas, celebrating the Year of Food and Drink in Scotland 2015. Despite the very high winds, it was a very relaxing way to spend a day and I love supporting the local food growers, the local breweries and associated craft workers. The afternoon was spent at Threave Gardens, both observing the changed seasons and to spend my 'birthday money'. Today I'm off to see the newly hatched Osprey chicks at their nest in Threave Castle. Dad is called Black 80 and Mum, Blue KC. Its a wonderful privilege to see these magnificent birds. And whilst I'm not quite sure I have managed to get my 'work - life' balance right, so far my weekend can only be described as Ssssssssssssssssssssssmokin!

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