It’s been around three weeks since I last ran, so last night I finally went for a run. It was a beautiful evening – perfect weather conditions for running. It should have been an easy run but with the Jewish holidays, my son and his young family visiting (more about their visit later) and my new role taking over my life, it took longer than I thought!
This time last year I ran the Manchester marathon and as I limped home I reflected on what lessons I had learnt. The most important thing was to stay focused on the end goal… running 46 km. When I first decided to run the marathon I assumed it was just about increasing my running distance but it was when I started training I quickly understood there was more to be done. I needed to make a range of changes including diet, incorporating different types of exercise into my training and also developing a positive and resilient attitude. There were good days and there were bad days – I realised while some programmes (interval training and swimming) made sense they just weren’t for me. Focusing on what worked well and celebrating the successes helped me to overcome the training sessions I didn’t enjoy as much. Learning from peers and from those that had gone before was also invaluable.
In my new role as Chair of Bury CCG, I am meeting many a wide range of talented, enthusiastic and hardworking people from both health and social care. They are all focused on the single goal of making Bury the best place to live and work. They bring a wide range of skills and experience, and as the Bury One Commissioning Board is formed, I have no doubt that the collective wisdom and ability to coordinate, integrate and collaborate across health and social care will make Bury the best place to live and work.
There are already many great examples of joint working with really positive results, such as the joint work on reducing antipsychotic prescribing in people with learning disabilities or dementia, improving diagnostic rates in dementia, joint commissioning of children’s services, inclusion and diversity policies, and achieving some of the best A&E four hour targets in the country. As we bring the Bury Locality Plan to life, I am sure we will see many more innovative transformational schemes that will make a real difference to the experience of people in Bury and those that care for them.
This week I was given a tour of Fairfield General Hospital by consultant Dr Shona McCallum as part of my induction. I met an amazing group of enthusiastic healthcare professionals all focused on delivering high quality, personalised care to patients. In A&E I chatted to an inspirational Care Navigator whose role is to coordinate services to allow people a rapid discharge back home. A patient might need home support, a wheelchair, meals or a visit in the community. The care coordinator knew the names of all of the local services as well as the people working within those services. She demonstrated how the CCG’s, hospital and social care’s collaborative approach is making a real difference to patients’ lives, getting them home faster and safer.
I mentioned earlier my son’s young family are here visiting us for a few weeks. A few nights ago, I was awakened at 4 am to see a little face peeking in and a small hand pulling at duvet. My three year old granddaughter who cannot tell the time yet looked up and asked, “Grandad is it time to get up?” I smiled, yes, even at 4 am! Grandad and granddaughter had an impromptu early morning breakfast, followed by reading books and cuddles.
My son was embarrassed that I had been woken up at such an early hour. I have seven children, the sleepless nights and early starts from when they were younger still fill me with dread and I remember too fondly just how even a few more minutes of sleep as a parent make a difference when you have young children. My son, now a parent, saw a child who should have been asleep at 4 am whereas I on the other hand saw an opportunity for grandparent/granddaughter to spend some quality time together, and I enjoyed every minute.