Tuesday, November 06, 2012

How can I help?

Yesterday was extraordinary. Weird thing kept happening after weird thing, and many brilliant things happened as well. It was such a good day.

(Way up there was our new bin being delivered from John Lewis. It has a fancy lid that opens when you press it. This is very exciting.)

I am feeling really positive and lucky at the moment that I've started to look at ways to thank King's. When I was in hospital, particularly the first time, I was simply amazed (not in a good way) by the way people treat nurses and other members of hospital staff that aren't doctors. I can't imagine what they are expecting that would make them feel so let down, to behave in such a way.

Such aggressive language, I just don't understand why they thought it was ok to treat another person like that. And it wasn't just one person, it was everyone, even visitors. Just astounding.

At the time, I thought I would like to do something about it - but had no idea what. So I've been thinking and it's got me all worked up.

The first ward I stayed in was a short stay ward mainly for people that had been admitted through A&E. The people that I shared a bay with here were among the rudest, nastiest and ungrateful people that I have ever met. I was ashamed for them. I was ashamed of myself for just standing by and watching.

The second time I was admitted, was to a specialist ward for people recovering from some kind of neurosurgery - we'd all had either head or spine operations. Clearly the patients here had more to be thankful for, and they were as you would expect, less rude.

But that didn't stop them complaining and moaning. Run out of Weetabix? Don't serve WeightWatchers branded soup? Dear lord, call the BBC. Had to wait two hours before an ambulance was free to take you home? But you still got taken home! To your doorstep, by an ambulance - what are you complaining for? It really got to me.


So I've had a pie in the sky idea: I want to do some research. I want to find out why people feel so frustrated and let down by the NHS. What do they think they are entitled to? I'm really interested to discover what they're expecting. Finding out where the perceived failings are will point out where to change the messaging, to manage expectations. Maybe just explaining how something works (ambulances aren't just hanging around waiting to take you home...) will make people less angry.

But research is expensive and I have no experience or background in it. Even if I did, I'm sure I wouldn't be allowed to go around just interviewing people. It would need to be centralised, and that would mean someone central caring about the NHS and it's reputation and future. Huh.

As a first step, I've applied to become a member of King's College Hospital Foundation Trust. We live so close to the hospital that it seems like such an opportunity to volunteer and bring some value to people. Hopefully I can at some point get involved at a deeper level and scope out the right people to put my idea to. It's a start anyway, I hope they accept me.