It makes me think, there’s something NHS Comm’s is doing...

Not quite right

I’ll bet a shilling you’ve never heard of Etienne Uzac.

If you’re a former student of the London School of Economics… well, maybe… he was a student there.

Back in 2005, Uzac and his mate, Johnathan Davis, decamped and set-up in New York City. Uzac was a business strategist and Davis a writer and coder.

It all started to happen for them around 2012.

By 2014 they’d recruited the former news editor from Bloomburg and later the executive business editor of the Huffington Post, later replaced by the deputy managing editor of Reuters.

Top-drawer talent.

Their product? News.

Their vehicle? The International Business Times.

Their vision? To move the international business focus away from being US-EU centric, to ‘global’.

It’s a success story.

IBT offers news, opinion and editorial commentary on global business and commerce and has become one of the world’s largest online news sources.

They get forty million unique visitors to their website each month and claim 90m readers.

Their revenues are well north of $20 million. They’re credited with a number of scoops and firsts and are in the vanguard of a coalition to stop fake news.

They publish five editions, in four languages.

There are many on-line news papers and some are little more than vehicles for advertising.

Indeed, in some it’s difficult to find the news. IBT has the belief that good journalism brings readers. They’ve won many prestigious prizes to prove it.

What’s this got to do with the NHS?

As you can imagine, to compile the items in the righthand column, I monitor all sorts of news outlets. My editorial policy? If it interests me… it’s in.

Thanks to IBT, I have made a discovery. When I was compiling today’s content one story caught my eye. Only IBT was running it.

In the tumble drier of events and news, you may have missed the fact that ‘they’, whoever ‘they’ might be, have decided, the NHS’ seventy-fifth birthday ‘will be celebrated’.

Break out the party hats, bunting and cup cakes. ‘They’ seem oblivious to the fact, ‘party’ is probably on the list of banned words, these days.

Never mind, as IBT tell me…

… as part of ‘the celebrations’, the NHS are giving the kiss-of-life to initiatives and ideas. Some that emerged from the Covid pandemic.


‘… a range of volunteer activities that will be introduced to support health and care services and improve patient experience.’

In particular, one called the ‘Check in and Chat’ service.

What is it? I’d no idea… but here it is, have a look;

‘… volunteers will provide a listening ear and, where appropriate, help patients explore positive changes they could make to their lives, for example to connect with others, become more physically active or to learn new skills or volunteer, and will signpost to other services and support in the community.’

IBT’s writer, Sadhna Yadav tells us;

‘… GPs, pharmacists, and other healthcare workers have now volunteered to make friendly phone calls to vulnerable and lonely patients via its Check-in and Chat service.’

Really? I thought GPs and pharmacists were busier than a mosquito in a nudist camp.

I know, loneliness is crippling, debilitating and a step towards depression and despair. This idea is important. We should encourage and support it.

It’s part of what is called micro-volunteering.

A few micro-volunteering support networks have been evaluated.

Despite some lack of clarity as to the role of volunteers, a bit of a tangle with some of the early App systems and a call for more local (rather than national) information, the flexibility appealed to volunteers but with some reservations about ‘volunteer-fatigue’.

Can they sustain the Covid effect that inspired us all to think about neighbours and local?

Maybe… is my conclusion.

More from the evaluation;

‘… There was … a very large number of people who saw their willingness, convert into no activity at all… this is potentially a missed opportunity to build volunteer capacity…’

There is an appetite to volunteer… matching it with demand seems to be the issue.

This all good stuff, isn’t it?

It’s all about individuals, neighbourhood, community, local, around the corner.

It’s just a pity I had to discover it from an international business website, with a global reach of millions, in a story written by an Indian journalist, based… somewhere?

It makes me think, there’s something NHS Comm’s is doing…

… that’s not quite right?


PS: I have since found the story in the Telegraph but as its content is paywalled, there is no point linking to it, coz most of us won’t be able to read it…

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