Its been a rather hectic winter season. Made more so disrupted by the recent snow that made everything come to a standstill in good old Blightey. The snow has brought doom in the form of car accidents, injury, cancelled holiday plans and lost productivity and economic woes at the worst time ever. But it also brought the best in people, neighbours who helped each other to shop and deliver the necessities to the most vulnerable. Workers who defied all odds to get into work to ensure that some of the service is left intact.

Regardless of the snow and dangerous icy conditions, work demands have continued to amass to a near enough frenzy. It never ceases to amaze me of how much fire fighting we do in health care. The best made plans just don’t seem to account for things going slightly awry. I wonder if any other industry would survive with this ‘head deeply in sand – hope for the best’ strategy…others like Hariet Sergeant seem to wonder too.

And make no mistake, this reflection is no disguise for some high-handed criticism of any international or national health system. Its simply a thought that we could perhaps plan and decide better to improve the service we provide to patients/service users and also cut costs of health care. I think all groups, including those in the health system, are vulnerable to groupthink and the delusion that we are already doing the best we can and therefore don’t have to consider alternatives.

I beg to differ. And I think more front line staff opting to question if we have missed some other alternative course of action besides austerity measures will lead to more innovative ideas. I welcome these, particulary in the coming four years when we have to save £20 billion in the UK health system alone.

So I guess the recent snow has taught me to plan for some hard times and try to protect the most vulnerable. But it has also taught me about the power of community. Its not just up to policy makers, its up to all who work and use the health care system to make the necessary changes.

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