Sunday, 15 November 2015

Deux vendredis soirs différents: Determined to Dream and Imagine...

This morning my thoughts are with all those who suffered a loss of a loved one in the despicable, cowardly attack by terrorists in Paris last Friday night. As I write this post, its being reported that 129 people have died, and 352 were injured, 99 of whom are in a critical condition.There will be many others who will have been touched by these attacks. The senseless atrocity occurred during a week that marks Armistice Day. Armistice Day is commemorated every year in memory of the ending of hostilities that was World War 1 - 'the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month'. This year I was proud to pause the meeting I was chairing and stand in respectful silence to acknowledge the sacrifices made by so many on our behalf during this and other wars.

My Friday night couldn't have been more different to the one being experienced as the tragic events in Paris were unfolding. At 18.30, I was sitting in my car, in the dark, being rocked by the gale force wind, watching the sleet hit the windscreen. I was getting ready to go into the warmth of the DW Stadium in Wigan to help celebrate this year’s Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh (WWL) NHS Foundation Trust 'Recognising Excellence Awards' ceremony. It is one of my favourite nights of the year!

There was much to celebrate, with many nominations from across the WWLs 4500 colleagues being made for this year’s awards. These awards recognised contributions made for service transformation, improving safety, team working, supporting others, and improvements to the quality of care provided. The sheer range of people and achievements nominated showed the enormous commitment there is to service improvement across WWL. It was great to see Lesley Cuncliffe and the inspirational Domestic Team win the Team Working prize, their work has ensured that WWL is the cleanest hospital in the NHS for the second year running!

For me, last Friday started with a 06.00 meeting with colleagues to discuss the development of Industry Collaborative Zones. Then it was down to The Lowry theatre for a HAELO Board Meeting.  09.00 saw me in the compass auditorium for day 2 of the 2015 HAELO Hosts, which this year took as its theme, Underground Improvements. HAELO is an innovation and improvement science centre which is based in Salford and is made up of 4 strategic partners: Salford Clinical Commissioning Group; Salford City Council; Salford University; and Salford Royal Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.

HAELO's mission is to positively influence the delivery of high quality public services, restore hope and become a powerful agent for change by adding to the growing knowledge of how improvement works in theory and in practice. Over the 2 days there were many examples presented of how such ambitions were being achieved. For me day 2 provided one of the most poignant and exciting of these. It was the 'soft launch' of the dementia united initiative. You can read more about this initiative here.

It was poignant because of the telling by Ann Johnson of her journey in living with dementia for the past 10 years. Ann was diagnosed with dementia when she was just 52 years old. A former nurse and nurse teacher, her faith and her friends are important to her, and in particular in her message, that we each have one life, and we should try and live it well. She is truly inspirational.

And I was privileged on last Thursday to open up our Politics of Location Conference. It was a conference that was the idea and passion of one of our social work colleagues, Gabbi Hesk. Through her hard work and fantastic leadership she was able to bring together a great team of colleagues and organise a truly powerful event jammed packed with a cast of inspirational speakers from around the world. One of these was our very own Chancellor, Jackie Kay, someone I was really proud to share the stage with! You can share the experience here

It has been a bitter-sweet week. For much of last week I have been able to share the wonderful stories of achievements of so many people who have chosen to care for and work with others. For so many people in France and beyond, last week was very different. My thoughts this morning are with all those whose lives have been so brutally torn apart by a minority who chose fear rather than freedom, and death rather than life. I hope that all those who so innocently lost their lives will rest in peace.

...Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace... may say I'm a dreamer

But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will be as one

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