Friday, 28th October, 2022

[Day 956]

Today started as a rainy and blustery day where a storm was evidently working its way up the country. Meg and I had made a tentative arrangement to meet with our University of Birmingham friend in the park today but after a quick text and telephone call, we decided to meet in a cafe aong the Bromsgrove High Street to which we often repair when the weather turns foul. So we met in the cafe and had a good old natter about some of the students we had known in our teaching careers. I told our friend the story how one of my students, a very bright nurse who worked in the Infection Control/Quality Control unit at Leicester General Hospital, offered me some consultancy which was to lay the groundwork for what was to become my PhD. At the time, John Major had just taken over from Margaret Thatcher and he was actively searching for his one ‘big idea’ which would delineate his premiership from that of Margaret Thatcher. Major’s idea was ‘the Citizen’s Charter’ and its sibling ‘The Patient’s Charter’ (the position of the possessive apostrophe is significant but we will not go into that just now) A major source of discontent was the amount of time that patiemts had to wait in outpatient clinics before their appointment started and so this was one area in which quality improvement might be implemented. I devised a short but sharply focused questionnire which was administered to every single patient in all specialities and my job was to analyse the data statistically and to provide a series of reports by consultant so that hospital managers could implement some quality improvement strategies. This led to a series of papers and when De Montfort University changed its PhD regulations allowing a member of staff to write a PhD around a series of published papers, this was an opening that I could not afford to ignore. So the papers were written, presented to international conferences, a PhD was written around them and this led eventually to a new job at the University of Winchester. The point of all of this is that the initial opportunity was opened up for me by one of my students and to her, I shall be eternally grateful.

After we had our coffee, I took the opportunity to get some printer paper from the stationers on the High Street and also to get some cleaning products from one of the cut price stores. The weather had turned absolutely glorious by this stage in the late morning and as it turned out, we could well have enjoyed a turn in the park. But we are always happy to chat with our friends. Then it was a case of getting home and cooking our usual Friday meal of sea bass served on a bed of lettuce which is both quick and nutritious. In the afternoon, I went through a series of newspapers most of which seemed important at the time (all the events surrounding the death and subsequent funeral of the Queen) but could now safely be junked. However, I did find one or two health-related articles at the bottom of the pile which are certainly worth a good re-reading, filing away and then to be consulted regularly. One of these related to a recently published book in which the authors (who had worked in Worcestershire as it happens) were advocating a way in which one’s ‘hunger hormones’ could be tamed that would eventually help to tackle related problems of obesity, diabetes and related health conditions. From the account and four page excerpt given in ‘The Times’, this sounds a very interesting and no doubt evidence-led approach so I have orderd my copy of the author’s book which should be arriving tomorrow and which I shall study with some care and perhaps attempt to implement.

Halfway through the afternoon, I read my emails and am delighted that one of my Hampshire colleagues has accepted my invitation to stay overnight with us on a night in late November whilst he on his way northwards to engage in a little research into family history. With the pandemic, we have not seen each other for years and have a lot to catch up so we are looking forward very much to his visit. A week later, Meg and I will hopefully to be attending an ‘Old Fogies’ lunch time get- together which will be the first for several years after an pandemic-induced abstinence. This meeting, too, has to be re-arranged twice as every time we settle on a date on a Wednesday, a rail strike seems to be announced for the same day so that efforts to find a communal date for us together has been frustrated. One video clip which is emerged this afternoon is the new Prime Minister, visiting a South London hospital in which one of the patients berates him and tells him that he should pay the nurses more and then he replies that the government is trying to achieve this is then told ‘Then you must try harder’ I suspect this clip will ‘go viral’ and I would be surprised if it did not find its way into the major news broadcasts this evening.