Thursday, 6 January 2011

New Year resolutions

Once I got over the fact that the snow had returned, my drive to the hospital on the first day back proved quite interesting and somewhat amusing. Like others, I guess, I was thinking about not only the day and week ahead but also what 2011 will bring.

The radio told me not to look directly at the sun! I was driving into Manchester (and it was a pretty grey day on 4 January) rather than home from the final Test of the Ashes series in Sydney, so I didn’t get too worried about the risk to my eyesight. But I did wonder if the description of the partial eclipse with the upper part of the sun obscured leaving a “smiley face” might be a good omen. It was followed immediately by the news that the Chancellor would be on the programme in the next hour discussing the economy and explaining the reasons behind the increase in VAT to 20%. I concluded the year might be one of ups and downs.

Of course none of us can predict the future but we can all shape it. The NHS family – the workforce, the patients and citizens are the system. So I wonder what your New Year resolutions were? The origins of new year resolutions goes back to 135BC and Janus, a mythical king with 2 heads. The Romans put his head at the top of their calendar, facing the future and the past, looking for forgiveness from their enemies and exchanging gifts with friends; thus Janus became January.

So looking back, one of the key themes of 2010 was quality. Well, not just “one of”, the key theme – quality - moved from being one of the organising principles of the NHS to THE organising principle of the NHS. Rhetoric you may say and I would retort “scepticism is good”. Whatever your views as we look forward to 2011, quality is now at the heart of the NHS. It is also measurable, it has 7 domains – safety, timeliness, efficiency, efficacy, equity, it is patient centred and it is sustainable. People reading this blog added the seventh dimension – sustainability. So what are your ambitions for 2011? What are your New Year resolutions? Have you got them mapped to measurable, achievable and relevant markers of quality of patient care? We are the system so I hope so.

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