Get on with it

I have news for you.

It’s hardly earth shattering, but it’s news and I think it’s important.

News we should have heard more about but, news that very probably slipped-by in the avalanche of ‘other-stuff’.

The political scientist Benedict Anderson used and expression for the skip-load of news that is tipped on us every-day. He called it ‘simultaneity’… meaning; there’s a lot of stuff happening at the same time.

He’s right and how we find out about ‘the stuff happening’, is changing. Globally, Trust in news media is falling. Consumption of traditional media declining. Some groups are disconnecting from the news, altogether…

… a new phenomenon… selective-avoidance… has doubled in the UK (46%)… people saying, the news has a negative effect on their mood.

The number of people willing to pay for their news is levelling off, to around 17%. Younger people don’t pay… they go on-line, social media and apps…. the smartphone is the dominant way people get their news.

FaceBook is the go-to. If you haven’t seen the docu-movie Zuckerberg… you should… you must.

With the welter of news and the myriad and diverse ways we connect to it, it is little wonder that some slips through, unnoticed…

… like the news I wanted to tell you about. The chances are you won’t know and my guess is, you wouldn’t be expecting it and you wouldn’t have guessed it.

The news is; NHS waiting lists have fallen for a third month in a row.

• Patients waiting for elective treatment fell by more than 19,000 in December, despite the NHS needing to reschedule 86,329 appointments due to strikes.
• The overall Covid-backlog fell by more than 6,200 in December for the third consecutive month… now down by 164,898 since September to 7.6 million.
• Monthly performance statistics show that the proportion of people waiting over a year for elective care is the lowest it has been since November 2020, at 4.4% of the entire waiting list…

…and by the way

• NHS staff delivered more elective activity in 2023 than in any other year since the start of the pandemic… more than 17.3 million people treated.

This is progress… despite the strikes, covid still lurking about and the impact of seasonal demands.

There are more pointless strikes planned before the end of the month.

If HMG were going to do a deal, they’d have done it by now. The BMA would do better to talk with Charmer. If he had any sense he’d jump at the chance to nail-in a deal and look like a leader in waiting.

As for the numbers? Well…

… there are a hell of a lot of people still waiting and even more people likely to join them. Each of the numbers, we know represents a person, with a story, a family and a pile of aggravation.

Nevertheless, dare I say… the direction of travel is important. It tells us, with a fair-wind and some space, the numbers can come down.

The 7.6m is made up of 6.3m individuals, some of whom will be waiting for more than one thing. There will be a big chunk waiting for a diagnostic and of those, some may not require a period of inpatient, or any care.

This is a small win, yes, but;

• it reinforces belief in ourselves, ‘we can do this’.
• It strengthens public support, ‘they can get on-top of this’ and
• it recognises the toughness and talent of the people at the sharp-end of the NHS.

When we’re optimistic, we’re more resilient.

The numbers coming down, is a national achievement, delivered locally. One patient at a time, day by day. Made possible by a complex network of people like you and the people you work with, who, together, achieve it.

The average age of an NHS employee is mid-40’s. A lot are younger. Of that grouping, about 38% will get their news from social media and 50% from websites.

Don’t wait for your people to trip over this news, on social media, or not. TV, or not. Papers, or not.

Tell them, it’s important.

Hertzberg, in his book ‘One more time: How do you motivate employees? Says ;

‘… people are most satisfied with their jobs (and … most motivated) when those jobs give them the opportunity to experience achievement.’

This is an achievement… make sure they experience it. There are a lot of backs that need patting, best you get on with it!

News and Comment from Roy Lilley
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Reproduced at by kind permission of Roy Lilley.