Monday: Early start on the ‘red eye’ – the 06:54 from Doncaster to Kings Cross, then short tube ride to the ‘Gherkin’ to meet up with Dr Robert Wah. Today’s our media day. First stop, the Guardian for an interview with their Social Policy editor, who was interested to learn about the US healthcare system from Robert. Next, we did a ‘live’ webcast at the HSJ, where Robert’s IT skills enabled the interview to proceed! We discussed similarities and differences between the two countries health IT approaches. Back to the ‘Gherkin’ for an evening dinner with a group of influential, senior doctors from London and the South of England. Great food and lively debate. Star guest, (apart, of course, from Robert), was Dr Charles Gutteridge, National Clinical Director for Informatics at the Department of Health.
Tuesday: Morning prep at Mouchel’s offices in Westminster for MP’s briefing at Portcullis House (opposite the Commons), where many MP’s have their offices. This was to help them understand the importance of IT in the NHS and how it will improve patient care in the NHS. Unfortunately, something even more important than Health IT must have been on their agenda, as only two representatives turned up (one was the wife of an MP and she was impressed!). We then travelled over to Cambridge where our CSC marketing ‘minder’, Simon Lewis, gave us an insider’s tour of the town (him being a 1st class honours graduate from Jesus College – bright lad!). Later, we met clinicians and managers from Cambridge and Peterborough NHS Trust, and that evening hosted another dinner with senior doctors from the area.
Wednesday: Car journey to Derby for a big, SHA event at the football ground. Our ‘chauffeur’ left a bit to be desired (only joking Martyn!). Again, Robert addressed the participants and congratulated them on their successes, e.g. 18 million patients on CSC’s electronic systems. He provided a compelling vision of the future of Health IT, where better information systems produce better decisions. This was followed by a smaller group discussion where participants could freely air their opinions. We left Derby and travelled on to Solihull (in a hire car that my EA, Tracey Hewitt, had amazingly provided!). Dinner with senior clinicians from the Midlands. I left early to get back to Doncaster as I was in theatre the next morning.
Thursday: A clinical day for me, anaesthetising and teaching for Orthopaedic surgery, whilst Robert visited Liverpool to hear from doctors how happy they were with our new Clinical Portal solution. Drove up to Leeds in the evening for (another!) dinner with Robert and some doctors from Bradford, where we deploy Lorenzo, ePF and SystmOne. It’s fair to say that there was a mixed response, which reinforced my belief in the crucial importance of good clinical engagement in IT projects. Got home late.
Friday: Another clinical day, this time on Labour Ward. Pretty busy, but always a delight to welcome brand new people into the world! Helps maintain a sense of perspective and reminds me why we’re all doing this important work.