Dedication & Consistency

When I was around 13 years old I remember reading about how one of my favourite guitar players, Yngwie Malmsteen.  As a child he would fall asleep while playing the guitar.  He would play the guitar all day, everyday to the extent that his ribcage is now deformed as he literally grew up around the guitar.

My brother asked me around that time “when was the last time you dedicated your life to something like that?  Probably never.”.

The message was clear.  Dedication and consistency win, hands down, every time.

Epic!

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Innovation Is Dead

Just thinking about all those great scientists and doctors from the past is so inspiring!  Just in the last 100 years we’ve created the vaccine for polio, sent humans to the moon, the range of medications we have has vastly increased and then there’s IT – the Internet is, in my opinion the next industrial revolution and it’s happening in our lifetime!  It’s a crazy time to be alive.

jonas-salk

Jonas Salk created the polio vaccine and then gave it away for free!  What a guy!

However, I really believe that innovation is pretty much dead and not enough of it is being carried out in the fields that really matter.

Right now everyone is going crazy making software and apps.  There is a lot of innovation here, but very little of it is going to actually change the future in any meaningful way.  Health IT software, healthcare apps – all of this stuff is at the fringes of where innovation really needs to happen.

I’ll tell you right now what innovation needs to happen in the world of medicine – rapid diagnostic tests.  Super cheap, super accurate diagnostics will open up the world of medicine to the poorest of people worldwide, empower patients and allow us all to live a much longer more productive life.

How about the other biggest problem facing man kind – global warming and our reliance on fossil fuels.  We all already know that much more work and innovation needs to happen in this field.

But it’s not happening!  Why?  Why is it that so many people then are focusing on making apps to deliver food to your door at a cheaper and cheaper price point, rather than working on things that will actually have a massive impact on mankind?

Here’s why:

It’s because software is unregulated.

Want to create a new medication or diagnostic procedure?  You’ll need half a billion pounds and a decade of time to go through all the hoops the government has put in place to validate your creation.  In fact it’s so strict now that if you were to create the polio vaccine today, the research would likely have been terminated in its early stages due to the number of deaths it initially caused!

Want to get involved in the power industry and develop your own solar power company?  Then you’ll face an onslaught from the entrenched power corporations and face an insurmountable amount of competition from them backed by the government.

Software is the only space where you can build pretty much anything and get away with it.  It’s unregulated and any idea you have can be scaled and implemented worldwide.  Governments are clearly weary of this – look at the backlash against Uber in so many countries.  The Uber software is really unregulated compared to local taxi services who have to jump through so many hoops to simply operate.  No doubt, soon software innovation will also be more regulated and when this happens innovation in this space will also be stifled.

Too many rules, regulations and bureaucracy kills innovation.  As a result worldwide, innovation is stifled in the areas where we need it the most.  Such a shame.

NHS Startup Part VIII – Approval

Unbelievably we are still on track to launch by the end of this month!

Quite a lot has happened since the last update.  We will be launching in Hull which is a tier two commissioned region.  This means that a lot of the services which are commissioned (or bought) in that region are actually bought by NHS England.  This has meant that we have had to get our software approved by NHS England which has all gone through now.  This is a green light for us to basically go ahead.

We have a couple more hoops to jump through – getting approved by the IT lead and getting approved by the information governance lead of the Hull CCG.  This shouldn’t really be a problem as we were originally going to launch in Leeds and our product has already been approved by the Leeds west CCG IT and information governance leads there.   So there shouldn’t really be any reason why this would be a problem in Hull.

Apart from getting approval I have also been having discussions with one of my mentors – Maureen Gaudin.  She’s a super successful business lady and has been involved in lots of different industries.  Her advice is really invaluable and getting mentoring on business models, investments, product range etc etc has been really insightful and helpful.  I feel like I don’t really deserve her time though!  I’m still in such an early stage of my startup!  I’m just super grateful that she’s even giving me any of her time!

Not much longer to go till we launch!  So excited!

How To Destroy The NHS In Five Easy Steps!

Mr Hunt makes yet another appearance on my blog! :p

So, I could spend my time ranting at/about Mr Hunt.  There are plenty of reasons to do so.  Yesterday he announced that he will be making doctors work for at least four years in the NHS after they graduate.  Obviously, this is a really lame idea – impose a contract, then make doctors work that contract and keep on making conditions worse and worse so that NHS staff lose all morale and don’t even care anymore if the NHS collapses or not….So I could  spend my time ranting about that.

But I won’t.

I want to direct people’s attention to all the other reasons doctors are leaving the NHS.  Because there are a lot (and surprise, surprise money isn’t one of them!).

I feel as though there are five major reasons as to why there is such a large exodus of doctors out of the NHS.  So here it is!  The five easy steps to destroy the NHS!

Step 1 – Hire Horrible People

The number of times I have seen other junior doctors break down due to rudeness from other staff members is ludicrous.  I don’t want to make it sound like doctors are the only victims here, but they are the ones who are in massive scarcity at the moment and are required to run the services patients need!

So literally, as a junior doctor you are treated with utter disdain from individuals from all other groups of healthcare providers – consultants, nurses, porters, physios, pharmacists, radiographers….any other healthcare professional you name, I can think of a few people who I have absolutely hated working with!  There are a lot of people in the NHS whose life’s purpose seems to be to make your life hard for no reason!

Simon Sinek often talks about how you know an organisation has lost its way when they start hiring horrible people who you yourself wouldn’t want to spend time with.  As soon as you make the argument “she’s got these skills, so we can let her continue to be a bully and generally be horrible.”, you know that that organisation is toxic.

Step 2 – Treat Doctors Like They Are Not Human Beings

There have been so many occasions in my personal experience where it seems that the NHS has quite simply broken the law and abused my human rights:

  • Not allowing us to eat and drink and allocating a time for this (as happens in Australia) makes us want to leave
  • Nurses and consultants who complain when registrars sleep during their nights shift (as recommended by the royal colleges) makes us uncared for and makes us want to leave
  • Asking us to “work a few more hours” after a gruelling 12 hour night shift (thereby also breaking the law) makes us want to leave
  • Ringing us up post night shift, while sleeping to bring us back to work makes us want to leave
  • Saying that you can’t go to your exam/course/teaching session because there aren’t enough doctors on the floor makes us want to leave

Step 3 – Top Down Management

I really believe that the people doing the work are the people who have the best insights into how to make things efficient and better for patients.

As patients may have also noticed when making a complaint, getting any feedback through and having some form of input over conditions and how things should be ran in the NHS is near impossible.  The NHS management system feels like it is designed to stonewall themselves away from any form of feedback.

Essentially not giving us any autonomy over how we work makes us want to leave.

Step 4 – Turn Patients Into A Product On A Conveyor Belt

Most doctors I have met are good people who genuinely care about their patients.

Most patients I have encountered also are awesome people who I really want to help!

Unfortunately, the way things are now, patients are reduced to a diagnosis or a description.  “He’s the gallbladder in bed 4”, “She’s the one waiting for that blood test.”.  As a result patients feel uncared for and unheard.  Also as a result of how things are ran right now, doctors don’t feel that they are giving the best care that they can give for their patient.  When a patient comes in to see us, as we are so busy and overwhelmed that there are so many jobs and patients to be seen we often just do a barrage of investigations, give some treatment and move on to the next patient.

This isn’t what we want to do!  I want to really understand where a patient is coming from, what their concerns are and how I can give them a bespoke solution.  I became a doctor to help people at their most vulnerable time, not to stick you on the “headache protocol” and treat you as if you are some kind of product on a conveyor belt.

Step 5 – Make Us All Scared

All doctors in the NHS currently work in a climate of fear.

We’re scared about the future.  Scared for the future of the NHS, our working conditions and also our patients.

We’re scared of getting sued.  So much of what we do nowadays is “defensive medicine”.  We end up caring more about how to not lose our licence instead of giving the patient the best care they need.  For example if you come in with some tummy pain and after carrying out our tests and examination it turns out that it’s “nothing serious”, then likelihood is that you’ll get kicked out the door pretty quick with some paracetamol and very little else.  This is one of the reasons so many women are out there suffering with endometriosis – it’s because doctors are practicing defensive medicine rather than actually listening to you and thinking about how to sort you out!

We’re also scared of not keeping up to date with our professional commitments.  Our Personal development plans, professional exams, basic/advanced life support, clinical examination assessments, patient satisfaction questionnaires, multi source feedback, teaching sessions, audits, clinical governance, personal reflections, meetings with our educational & clinical supervisors, research etc etc – all just so we have the privilege of continuing to work!

Look, I’m not saying doctors have it the worst, but generally speaking we’re a bright bunch, our skills are in demand worldwide and we have plenty of options.  Want to keep us working for your/our NHS?  Then maybe we need to alter the culture and environment rather than imposing more and more policies onto the people doing the work that really matters.

There’s A Revolution

There’s a revolution happening…..

Right now, you have the same access to connections as the biggest and best corporations in the world.  You can literally find anyone through the internet and if you can bring value to them, you can build real connections.

Right now, you have access to your own media company.  You can broadcast your video, or your writing and thoughts to billions of people.

Right now, anyone can set up their own business online overnight.

There’s a revolution happening….and most people are choosing to ignore it.