“It’s nice to share”, is one of my several programmed phrases to get me through the parenting day.
“I said NO!”
“I’m the Mummy.”
As a parent, one of the first things you teach your children is how to share (or ‘play nicely’-which basically means ‘let her have it and don’t bite her when she takes it).
It’s difficult, counterintuitive and no one much likes it, but it eases the way into school and working life and it has to be done.
By the age of about three most children understand what you mean by sharing and they try their little best.
This seems to me to be all the more extraordinary when you realise that professionals, all of whom are above three, are apparently incapable of sharing anything.
“But” I hear you cry, “what about patient confidentiality and data protection - not to mention safeguarding?"
These are vital things, professionals are important people they must protect us all”.
In the olden days when I was a Speech and Language Therapist a thing called the, "multidisciplinary team" existed.
Meetings happened between all the professionals involved in a person’s care.
Patients were discussed, and staff liaised.
This still happens in hospitals, but in the community is much rarer.
Firstly you have to go through the entire back story of your child when you meet a new professional, knowing that somewhere in the system (perhaps several somewheres) it is already documented.
Secondly and most frustratingly it means that the parent can end up doing all the liaising.
Pearl has school in one county (budget one) Orthopedics in another (budget two) and we live in another, which is responsible for paying for splints and equipment.
This has led to situations where the Physio responsible for splints, is angry with the decision made by Orthopedic Surgeons and takes it out on me.
"Why does Mr Tightcalf want to do that, did you explain to him what we’re trying to achieve?"
Well no, because after I have had all your ideas explained to me and I’ve left the office, I forget them all, because I am not a Physio, or an Orthopedic surgeon.
WHY DON’T YOU PHONE HIM AND DISCUSS IT?!
(Can I just point out that sadly that isn’t Pearl’s Orthopedic Surgeons name ,and disappointingly I am not that assertive in a conflict situation, choosing instead to go home and weep quietly.)
So, what can be done and who can we blame?
Personally, I blame the Government (I usually do tbh).
Services are terribly over stretched at the moment, faces through doors are a measure of success, and due to austerity and low morale there is a shortage of Therapists and Professions Allied to Medicine.
Non-face to face contact is low on the priority list.
Basically I think we need a long term shake up rather than a short term shuffle.
Multidisciplinary Teams are a great way to work, team work is satisfying, the client gets a coordinated approach with a single goal.
This should lead to better swifter outcomes, and the patient can be include in goal setting too!
More money in the service would of course lead to less firefighting, but also should save money in the long term.
Every half hour taken redocumenting the same information costs somebody money, and that somebody in the end is the tax payer.
So come on service providers, let’s have some creative thinking in planning services, everyone would benefit.
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