Informal reflections on my trip to Liverpool and talk at the NHS Confederation Annual Conference, June 2015

My first impression was that Liverpool would be fun! A land of #boatrockers and pirates!

I often walk a bit close to the edge. And the event was at the Albert Docks.

Would I need a life- belt?

I stopped off at the Pump Room for a boost of adrenaline

People need to be able to know which way to turn to find support.

Everyone is working in silos.

Wow! 🙀

I thought I had better stop sight-seeing and check in.

The ACC was massive and it was quite hard to find my way around. This lady turned out to be electronic and gave me virtually no help.

There was a lot of walking. Perhaps I should have worn more practical shoes? 😂

Cutting Edge

I called in to see some of my friends at The Edge

We took this photo for our friend and my 'mutual mentor': Dr Sam Majumdar.

I felt excited to be amongst NHS thought leaders. I was particularly looking forward to hearing Rob Webster and Simon Stevens speaking.

My WhoseShoes? approach is very action focused. Our #MatExp campaign is s now a powerful social movement. What can we all DO about the burning issues facing the NHS?

Purple is a symbolic colour for me. It suggests action. There was an air of anticipation.

And there was a great film showing how Simon Stevens likes to get the views from a wide range of people. Excellent! 😀👏🏼

The scale of the challenge facing the NHS and scope to re-direct resources is huge.

How to get everybody pulling together? It all feels a bit uphill.

At the moment things are not very joined up at all

It was time for my session. I really wanted to trigger some lightbulb moments.

I wondered what people would make of my somewhat quirky take on things.

'Falls Prevention - preventing older people falling down the cracks in the system'. My talk in Liverpool, 3 June 2015.

The room was filling up.

It was great to meet Dr Mark Newbold at last, the Chair of our session. We have known each other for ages via social media. Mark showed the excellent new animation film showing why the pressures of providing urgent care for older people need to be addressed. Urgently.

I had taken one of the fab images from the video and tweaked it a bit to illustrate some key points from my talk.

I started with a poem...

I am hoping to write a blog about the session itself but for me it was about prevention. The small things that make a big difference.

I challenged delegates to see the person. Not just a frail old lady lying in a hospital bed.

I told lots of stories...

When Mum moved into Assisted Living last year, a friend who is an O.T. came and did an assessment and recommended the equipment and support Mum needed. If we had waited six months for the social care assessment, I guarantee Mum would have had a fall and ended up in A&E. Where is the sense in that?

I talked about my Dad and his eight heart attacks. And the little things that really helped him.

I crowd-sourced loads of tweets to find out what really mattered to people. Sarah Russell was one of many many contributors.

Some of the audience looked a bit stony faced. I was challenging them to engage as people as well as being healthcare professionals. 👀

The key theme of my talk was that people want to be able to live their lives rather than just be seen as a medical condition.

Some of the delegates seemed a bit shocked by the idea that we were really talking about 'people 'rather than 'patients'. I hope they don't increase numbers in A & E.

But there were lots of supportive people too. It was lovely when some of them came up to talk to me at the end.

I took Lisa Rodrigues's advice (top tips for Confed conference goers) and had a blow on the balcony! These big conferences need a breath of fresh air!

Sam, whom you met earlier, teaches me to go with the flow. It is extremely powerful.

I couldn't help wondering whether there are some serial conference goers who come for the ride rather than challenging themselves to learn something new.

I then had time to catch up with some friends. Anna Geyer, New Possibilities was busy and as always I was fascinated to see her wonderful graphic recording.

Jenny @greatnorthmum, one of the #MatExp gang, had been tweeting saying I must meet up with Sarah. I'm so glad I did!

We certainly need a bit of this.

I met plenty of people with shared purpose, but at the very end met one fabulous lady, whose daughter has very complex conditions. I really hope that my Liverpool friend I met up with the previous evening, who was not at the conference, has something that will really help her. I love connecting people in this way. The serendipity of these events often blows my mind.

Friday. 9.30a.m. Be there!

I know my pal Alison Cameron will rock the conference boat on Friday. I sincerely hope that people who have not previously been exposed to boat rockers start to listen. I was the warm up act. "You ain't seen nothing yet."

I 💜 Liverpool. It is friendly and vibrant. I had a lot of fun.

Planning to return very soon with Mr #WhoseShoes. There is something for everyone.

There was plenty to reflect on as I left the conference, wondering whether the remaining two days would make real progress. I sincerely hope so.

I was delighted that Andrea Sutcliffe was speaking the next day. Would the remaining two days of the conference succeed in building bridges between health and social care?

If we crane our necks into the future, what will health, social care and housing look like? Sorry, that is a terrible pun!

How seamlessly (horrible jargon word) can the two systems join up - embracing the wider world of housing, employment... life ?! Can 'the system' become truly holistic and work with people's whole lives rather than just health needs? Will people be seen as contributing human beings rather than passive recipients of care?

As I made my way home, I couldn't help wondering what difference it would all make it to the man in the street. And when.

Communities - need progress to be a bit quicker.

Thought diversity

There is a lot of talk about thought diversity but I think some of these conferences need a much wider mix of people. I met a guy on the train on the way home who had a lot of common sense. He described himself as 'the man in the street'. I really enjoyed chatting to him and sharing what I had been up to.

There were lots of strong messages at the conference that are certainly worth repeating.

But will the same old issues keep going round and round? Will we all need the lifebelts after all?

The 5 year vision for the NHS is challenging and exciting. Will it happen? The jury is out.

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