And it came to pass on the last Thursday before Christmas recess, the government published 424 documents, and lo, said the three hundred wise men, they are burying bad news. But verily I say unto thee, there is a greater sin in the land of UK, burying good news.
The truth is that almost everyone has an interest in bad news. The Daily Wail sells newspapers with crisis, and NHS providers get money for crisis. Jeremy wants more winter crisis to squeeze cash out of George. The RCGP wants a workforce crisis to get more of a slice of it (looks two faced when trying to recruit, but hey). The Patients’ Association exists for crisis. The BMA are past masters at crisis.
Moans have fallen, moans on moans, yet right there in their very own BMA News, buried in a story about unmanageable workload, is GP Dr Toni Hazell saying, “the system has hugely improved our access and is beginning to go down better with the patients.” They have introduced a fully GP led telephone triage system. “When patients know they can get a same-day appointment, they are more prepared to wait and see… it’s really nice when I can say to patients, yes, let’s see you today.” And she is pictured in print, affirming “unsustainable demand reduced by triage.”
I’ve been to BMA House twice and had a nice cup of tea. Same at Richmond House, same NHS England. They’ve done nothing. They will try everything and anything that doesn’t work, when the good news they all mortally fear is right under their noses.
We didn’t work directly with the featured practice, but it’s similar and I love it when people discover good news themselves, although we know that most need help to change quickly and reliably. We were delighted when another outfit discovered Clarendon in Salford and made a video of it. Worth five minutes to see Jeremy Tankel saying how safety has improved.
None of this takes reorganisation, regulation, incentives or shaming. It means opening your eyes to good news. The crime of burying it keeps millions of patients suffering, and thousands of GPs at the end of their tether.
Good News at Christmas? There’s a lovely carol you will probably sing, think on the words
“How silently, how silently, the wondrous gift is given.”
PS If you don’t fear dying of laughter, @jtweeterson’s Christmas gift ideas are unmissable.
Planning a meeting for your locality, federation, board or CCG? We’ll be sharing some very good news early in the new year, would love to come and tell you.