What Matters by Ken Donaldson & Alastair McAlpine

I recognise that it is a bit cheeky of me to put my name to this as I haven’t written any of it. A few months back I was scrolling through Twitter and came upon this thread that really moved me. The messages are simple yet immensely powerful. I have therefore simply taken some screenshots from Twitter and published them here. As you can see this is by a Doctor called Alastair McAlpine who is a Palliative Paediatrician in Cape Town, South Africa. Read on…..

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Food is about so much more than just nutrition… by Claire Angus

Are you someone who craves the crunch of crisps? Enjoys a chicken and rice soup? A chocolate sundae where you delve through layers of whipped cream, ice-cream, chocolate brownie, chocolate pieces, and chocolate sauce?!

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We could describe the foods above as containing lots of textures, or as having different consistencies… runny, crunchy, crispy, flaky, smooth, chewy, soft, thick, thin.

The consistency of your dinner is unlikely to be a high priority.. unless you’re a food critic or a chef! Most of us decide on food choices based on what sort of flavours we fancy, how ‘filling’ or for some folk ‘light’ a meal is. When we order in a restaurant, we often peruse the menu before picking a firm favourite dish, or maybe we pick something we know we could never make as well at home, or something expensive – if someone else is paying!!

For some people with ‘dysphagia’ (swallowing problems), choices about what to eat, and what they can safely eat, are more restricted.

The adult Speech and Language Therapy team work closely with many adults who have acquired ‘dysphagia’ as a result of a health condition i.e. stroke, brain injury. Our main roles are in assessment of an individual’s swallow (how strong is it? How quick is it?), giving handy hints and tips about how to make swallowing easier depending on the particular difficulty (sitting upright whilst eating, tucking chin to chest), and advising on how food and drinks can be modified so that they’re easier to manage (and prevent unpleasant coughing/choking, and pesky chest infections!!)

So that you look less like Theresa May coughing on water at this conference…

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And more like this happy lady.. happy whilst eating her chips from the canteen…

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We used to use ‘stages’ to describe the consistency of drinks, and ‘textures’ to describe the consistency of foods. As is often the case with healthcare which develops and evolves, there is to be change! This change comes in the form of introducing a new way to talk about food and drink consistencies. The plan is for these to be used internationally, as pretty colourful triangles and numbers can be understood in any language. Here’s a diagram of the new International Dysphagia Diet Standardisation Initiative (IDDSI) triangles.

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Essentially, starting from the very bottom at level 0 is the ‘thinnest’ liquid available – think plain old water. As you work your way up the levels, the consistency gradually thickens – think of yoghurt drinks and smoothies. At level 3, there is an overlap where the consistency can be provided as a moderately thick drink, or a liquidised food (e.g. McDonald’s chocolate milkshake/custard) and as you work your way up to level 7, the food becomes more challenging – requiring more mouth control in biting, chewing with your teeth, mashing with your tongue, co-ordinating a mix of different textures (think of that chicken and rice soup/chocolate sundae I mentioned right at the start!) and controlling a strong timely swallow.

Our adult Speech and Language Therapy team embraced a food challenge to try and understand the new descriptor ‘levels’ and to experience what it might be like to be recommended a specific consistency ‘level’ and to prepare meals accordingly. It was much harder than we anticipated!

Here are some of our reflections:

Level 3 – Liquidised Food

Laura’s first stumbling block was when she realised she doesn’t own a blender! She therefore changed the task to see if she could buy a day’s worth of convenient food and drinks at level 3 consistency.

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Whilst it’s maybe not as healthy as making a meal from scratch, and probably more expensive, she felt it was more realistic for people like her who prefer meals that are more easily prepared. She was required to think ‘out of the box’ – buying fruit and veg puree from the baby aisle, although she highlighted that this might feel slightly demeaning to an older adult. She reflected on the challenge, saying “If I had to have my food and drinks modified to this level on a long term basis then I don’t think I would manage with the hunger! I would probably ask for the support of a registered dietitian to offer suggestions on improving oral intake and maintaining nutrition and hydration.”

Level 4 – Pureed food

Becky cooked a mushroom risotto, before putting it through the food processor!

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Becky reflected on the experience, saying that she would feel frustrated if she was having to prepare food to level 4 consistency out of necessity, as she struggled to ensure that the consistency was correct. Claire who also prepared food to level 4 consistency felt that it took longer than usual to prepare dinner as she was having to blend and sieve everything. This can be a real pain if you only have one of each and are required to keep washing everything as you go! Jan who also completed the challenge felt that she would miss the different textures of foods if she was required to prepare all meals to level 4 consistency.


Level 5 – Minced & moist food

Amy cooked bhurjee, an Indian take on scrambled egg.

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She felt that the challenge helped her think about how complicated it can be for patients/family/carers of people with dysphagia to prepare food to the correct consistency level. Whilst Helen was completing the challenge, she reflected on the fact that food is about so much more than nutrition.  It is often used for social occasions, and gifts, and she thinks that she would struggle going out to eat in cafes/restaurants with friends and family if she was only able to eat food which was minced and moist. Another valuable insight offered by Helen was the added layer of difficulty there may be whilst preparing food of modified consistencies, if an individual’s cause of dysphagia is post-stroke, and they are required to do food preparation (i.e. small chopping, dicing, blending, sieving) with their non-dominant hand.


Level 6 – Soft & bite-sized food

Kirsty cooked a Balmoral chicken with peppercorn sauce, level 6 style!

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She felt uncomfortable as an adult having her dinner presented cut up into 1.5cm bite-sized pieces almost as if for a child, but still managed to present it beautifully!! Helen prepared macaroni cheese, assuming that this would be an easy way round a level 6 meal. Turns out that pasta which measures up as 1.5cm when dry, expands to 2cm when cooked, and therefore each and every piece of pasta had to be trimmed by 0.5cm to meet the IDDSI descriptor of 1.5cm!! Talk about time consuming! IDDSI’s 1.5cm thumb nail sized pieces have been proposed as this is smaller than the adult trachea (wind-pipe), and therefore minimises the potential of a choking risk. Helen felt as though the challenge made IDDSI’s strict descriptors more practical, and personal, and removed them from just being on paper. 


Completion of this challenge highlighted for many of the team just how important food is.. for socialising, for comfort, for enjoyment! Most of us will celebrate good news by popping open a bottle of bubbly, or heading out for dinner in a favourite restaurant! Whilst these new descriptors have rigid descriptions – they have been created and tested so that everyone can enjoy food and drink as safely as possible!  


Claire Angus is a Speech & Language Therapist for NHS Dumfries and Galloway


(The International Dysphagia Diet Standardisation Initiative (IDDSI) is being implemented throughout Dumfries & Galloway over 2018 in all hospital, care and home settings. From 21st May, the fluid thickener Nutilis Clear changes to follow the new levels of drink, and anyone using Nutilis Clear will need to mix their drinks slightly differently.)


  • For more information on IDDSI, look for links on the Beacon flash adverts or visit:


  • Follow the adult SLT team on social media using:

@SLT_DG on twitter

@SpeechandLanguageTherapyadultService:NHSD&G on facebook.

Realistic Medicine—is it achieveable? by Heather Currie

A few months ago I was fortunate enough to be able to attend the Realistic Medicine conference held at Easterbrook hall. Hearing personal stories was, as always, moving and thought provoking. Little did I know that I would be having my own Realistic Medicine experience within a week.

My dad was a legend. Cantankerous, stubborn, opinionated, yet determined, resourceful, creative, inventive and mischievous! He has had many encounters with the NHS over recent years, mostly good but not all, from which I have learnt much. His outpatient journey, which I described in a previous blog, inspired me to look into how our outpatients run in the hope that we could do better.

He was always a farmer and continued to be involved, always knowing best (!)  until he was no longer physically able. At the age of 89, despite cardiac failure, chronic kidney disease, gout, peripheral vascular disease and osteoarthritis he managed to stay at home in the country, looking out onto hills and fields of sheep and cows, with help from family and carers until June 2017. Then, with decreasing mobility and some cognitive decline, he agreed to move into a care home. A care home on a working farm with a room looking out onto a field of cows was perfect. The staff were wonderful and he settled well, enjoying the company, feeling safe and good cooking! But he was inevitably becoming frailer.

One Sunday morning in October when I was visiting, he was quite drowsy. On discussing with the staff they mentioned that he had had blood tests showing worsening renal function and this was being monitored. My response was that perhaps blood tests were not needed and that most important was that he was comfortable. 

The following night around 11.00pm I was phoned from the care home to let me know that he was going into hospital and that the ambulance was about to leave.  Further blood tests had been taken. The results had been seen by an out of hours doctor somewhere in the north of England, who recommended hospital admission and ordered the ambulance. When I asked “What are we hoping to achieve?” the response was that while the care home staff and paramedics agreed that keeping him comfortable was the correct path for him, they could not go against the recommendation of the out of hours doctor.  I knew that he would not want to be taken to a hospital many miles away, for what? Phone calls to family members confirmed that they felt the same. Dying in the ambulance or on a hospital trolley was a distinct possibility, instead of comfortably with family with him, in the room looking onto a field of cows.

Several phone calls later enabled me to speak to the out of hours doctor. After explaining dad’s history, he agreed to cancel the ambulance and send a colleague out so that the care home had whatever was needed to keep him comfortable.  Having only blood results to go on, he could not make the fully informed recommendation. But why were blood tests taken in the first place? 

Dad died the following evening. Several family members had been able to visit during the day, he showed no signs of distress and at the end my daughter and I were with him, in the room looking onto a field of cows.

 If a death can be good, this was one, but could so easily have been very different. As my nephew later said, “Heather, none of us could have had that conversation. To move him would have been a disaster.” But why, when the family, the care home staff and the paramedics all believed that the right course of action was for him to stay, were all of us initially over ruled by a doctor who had never met my dad and had limited access to his medical history, albeit he was acting in good faith? 

So we achieved a realistic outcome this time, but is Realistic Medicine universally achievable? 

Possibly, but a major change in mind set from ourselves and from the public is desperately needed.

First and foremost we need to be kind,

But we also need to be brave

And we need to be realistic!


Heather Currie is an Obstetrician and Gynaecologist and Associate Medical Director for Women’s, Children’s and Sexual Health and NHS Dumfries and Galloway

Let’s eat dirt by Euan Mcleod

image1Do you remember growing up and playing in the mud, jumping in puddles, playing in the middens, wellies and the ring of no confidence (for more on this see Billy Connolly et al) 

Nowadays there is growing evidence that the desire to prevent our kids from being exposed to all kinds of bugs and germs is having a negative effect on them being able to develop resilience later in life, that the overriding desire to protect them from anything that may cause them harm is in fact causing them harm


image2This has burgeoned into an array of various chemicals cleaners and devices some of which kill 99.9% of all known germs and keep you safe, (never mind the ones we don’t yet know about),  but not all bugs are bad and similarly not all feelings and emotions are bad for us as well or something we need protected from. 

We have as a society in the pursuit of risk free safe living, developed health and safety into a burdensome machine, aimed at reducing and mitigating against the litigation potential and the costs as well as the reputational damage that can bring. The quite laudable idea that we should try and prevent things hurting us has become an exercise in producing paper trails and avoiding blame and guilt and less about “real” discussion about harm and risk


image3Witness the industry and thinking that has led us to losing some of our critical thinking ability and one might say common sense in how we respond to telling people about potential dangers just in case they sue us because we didn’t tell them. Where has personal accountability gone? 

Did we not learn as children for example that water in a kettle may be hot, or that snow and ice may be slippy, that knives may be sharp.

In mental health care we are often confronted by people experiencing acute levels of distress and our natural desire as humans and members of the caring profession is to try and take that away from them. To make things better and keep them free from harm 


image4We place people under restrictions, observe them with a view to preventing them taking a course of action which may be detrimental , we act in their best interest, but we are in a complex area of managing risk for the organisation versus risk for the individual , whose rights and responsibilities are arguably foremost in the provision of our service.


image5I recently completed training in the risk assessment tool which is used across services in Dumfries and Galloway, The training helped us to see that we all view risk differently and that having a tool does not make it a simple one size fits all approach but allows us to gather information about a complex subject that is ultimately about the individual and how we help them by managing risk.


image6Managing risk is not about just making sure the organisation and the staff are protected but ultimately about ensuring that the individual receives care and treatment that helps them towards recovery 


image7.jpegManaging risk makes all of this sound like something technical process driven THING, something outside of us but its value is in helping us to see risk as something which is part of us, part of life and in living life we sometimes take risks because it’s worth it in the end. that’s where the risk assessment process can helps us to have those difficult conversations, to be able to be brave and honest, not foolhardy, succinct in our thinking, with our rationale laid bare to be observed and clear to all  and to place the person in need front and centre of those risk plans.


image8The Scottish Patient Safety Programme is designed and focussed on prevention of harm in healthcare settings, could this translate into a focus on preventing harm at all costs and thus creating circumstances and situations which create longer term harm

Are there times when we potentially cause more harm by not allowing people to be exposed to the very things that will strengthen them and make them more able to cope with the stress and strain of life, mental ill health and help build resilience-which involves a willingness to turn negative emotions involved in disruptive life events into something strengthening and empowering. In this sense the negative emotions like the dirt we were exposed to as children rather than being removed or cleaned away or sterilised has a value in being allowed to remain and be used to build up resilience and thus recovery

The Scottish recovery network define recovery as “being able to live a meaningful and satisfying life, as defined by each person, in the presence or absence of symptoms




Resilience is becoming a key issue in our approach to mental health care and treatment, for example in England and Wales the government have allocated circa £15bn of resource to tackle the problem. that might mean we are seeing an acknowledgment that our modern lives are damaging our mental health and that an over reliance on medication and getting therapy hasn’t worked and has simply led to over use of mental health resource and a failure to rely on  ourselves as healers                                                                    

I am not suggesting we somehow stop caring, or throw caution to the wind and do not take seriously the very real dangers/risks of helping people “on the edge” but perhaps we are in the business of a more nuanced approach to risk, resilience and helping people lead mentally healthier lives, and eating some therapeutic dirt might be worth the risk to support people towards hope and recovery


Ewan McLeod is a Mental Health Staff Nurse at Mid Park Hospital Dumfries

Imagine a world………… by Laura Lennox


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Elaine has dysarthria (motor speech disorder):

 “I hate using the phone simply because I am so self-conscious of my speech.  And if they say “Pardon?” to me, it makes me more flustered because I automatically assume it’s my speech that’s the issue.  I would never think it could be that a noise distracted them at their end.  And the more flustered I get when trying to talk, the worse my speech becomes”.


“I love that some companies now have the ‘chat online’ service.  I will use that instead of the phone even though it takes longer”.


“The other day I saw some valuable looking equipment seemingly dumped under a bridge.  When I got home I went on to the Police Facebook page to message them, but they didn’t have messaging as an option.  I googled a contact email for them but to no avail. In the end I was forced to phone but it really is a last option for me”.


“I hate phoning for appointments, taxi’s, takeaways- all the things other people do without thinking about it – it’s a big issue for me and I often work myself up in to a state.  I try to remember the sound advice from my speech and language therapist to speak slowly and clearly but the minute I hear “Pardon?” I break out in a cold sweat

Last year I decided to get back into studying and registered for a three-year MSc in Advancing Healthcare Practice through the Open University.  I was asked to look at a small-scale innovation in a healthcare setting that could lead to a significant impact.  Straight away I knew what I was going to look at.  Listening to people’s stories time and time over – THE DREADED TELEPHONE!!

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William and Bob both had throat cancer.



“Speaking for myself, contact through email is the only way for me to go. I cannot carry a conversation by telephone due to the amount of Mucous and or phlegm talking generates.  I can listen on the phone to any conversation but can only give a limited response to any questions”. 



“I do not answer the phone as usually the valve needs cleaned for me to speak clearly.  If I need to make a phone call I need to clean the valve first and tend to just phone immediate family due to other people possibly not understanding me.  It’s embarrassing answering the phone and not being able to speak.  An email is so much easier to correspond with. No embarrassment.”

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Typically, the main or only method for contacting any public service is by telephone.  In the 21st century we have so many more ways of communicating:


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A Scottish Executive report published on communication support needs (Law et al, 2007) estimates there are between 1% and 2% of the population in Scotland who have complex communication needs.  Complex meaning to the degree that they cannot communicate effectively using speech, whether temporarily or permanently.  This is likely an underestimate given that the study is based only on people who were accessing speech and language therapy services.


If we consider the findings of this Scottish Executive report, having telephone contact as the only method of access within an organisation may be perceived as an inequality.

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(International Communication Project, 2016)

The Scottish Government (2011) recognises the requirement for public organisations to become more inclusive of people with communication support needs and has set guidance for public authorities on Principles of Inclusive Communication.  The legislative driver for this stemming from the Equality Act (2010) and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Disabled People (2009), Articles 9 and 21, which set out a person’s right to have access to information and communication in different forms.


Individuals and the wider community benefit from all people being more independent and participating in public life.

Lorraine has Aphonia (loss of voice):

 “I have difficulty with communication as my voice is a whisper and everyday there is a hurdle I have to try and jump.  One of these is appointments with NHS either hospital appointments or Dr Surgery appointments. I have lost appointments at the hospital as I can’t phone to cancel and rearrange. Also, when they send you a letter saying to phone up to arrange an appointment, I have to rely on other people to do this for me which is very hard as they work during the hours you have to phone, or they forget it’s also not very private. If you wanted to keep it private I can’t even have a phone consultation. I find it upsetting and frustrating that I have lost a lot of my independence having to rely on other people to make phone calls and appointments for me. There is a simple way to help people like me to give us part of our independence back and the answer is email. Most of us use it these days and I would have my privacy too. All they need to do is have on my records responds by email only, how hard is that? I don’t like to be one of those statistics that don’t turn up for appointments or when you don’t phone to make your appointment and think you do not need one. And that is just a small part of what I have to go through on a daily basis”.


Putting knowledge into action is what counts.  We could all work towards becoming more inclusive to people with complex communication needs by adding alternative options for contacting our services and departments.  It could be as simple as adding an email address to start with.


Now imagine if every service and department within health and social care did this then it would indeed be a giant leap towards a more inclusive communication world.

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If you have an interest in Inclusive Communication and want more information or to become involved in any future projects, please contact:

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Laura Lennox is a Speech and Language Therapist & Allied Health Professional for NHS Dumfries and Galloway

Cathy’s Journey by Amy Conley

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Friday night, admissions unit is where we first met Cathy……

I say met; we heard her before we met her – Cathy was shouting out, incoherent, clearly agitated. In her room, we found a tiny lady lost in a huge nightie, scrunched up on the bed, clinging onto the bedrail.  Cathy was 95, frightened and distressed.

Cathy had been transferred from another hospital, for assessment of pain.  It was impossible to know if Cathy was in pain or not – she couldn’t tell us.

We looked at her notes…

With a diagnosis of dementia and arthritis, Cathy had been living fairly independently with carer support, hadn’t been in hospital for some years.

A few weeks before, carers worried that Cathy may have fallen, an ambulance was called.  Cathy went to ED – no broken bones, but concern that Cathy couldn’t mobilise safely resulted in admission.

Over the next 6 weeks, Cathy was moved seven times between three different hospitals, from community to acute and back; staff worried about pain, falls and possible injuries, worried they were missing something, worried that more tests were needed…

Over this time, staff reported increasing difficulty with Cathy’s behaviours and confusion; she was distressed, agitated and uncooperative. Other patients were frightened.  Staff felt unable to manage.  Cathy was prescribed sedation.

Cathy by now was very confused, unable to communicate what she needed, not eating, not drinking.  She had become incontinent.

Back to Friday night…….

The sight of Cathy was heart-breaking; crying out, unable to tell us why, unable to understand what we were doing. She was dehydrated, in pain and encumbered by various medical contraptions.

We talked to Cathy’s family.  We decided that Cathy didn’t need any more interventions or hospital moves.  We did our best and made her comfortable.

Cathy died six days later…


Cathy, like many people admitted to hospital, was frail; she was frail before she came to hospital that first time.

If we had recognised her frailty at the hospital’s front door and intervened, well, perhaps Cathy’s story might have been different – different conversations, different interventions, different decisions and different plans made.

We talk a lot about frailty but it’s not always easy to explain or to understand.  Frailty is one of those words that get bandied about but what do we mean when we call someone frail?

The dictionary definition is “the condition of being weak and delicate”, something we all feel at times, but not really helpful in identifying frailty in our patients.

Within medicine, after years of vagueness and uncertainty, we have defined frailty as “the reduced ability to withstand illness without loss of function”.


A minor illness or injury, that would be no more than troublesome to you or I, affects a frail person more profoundly, leaving them struggling to walk, to wash or to dress, to eat or to communicate.

In reality though, how do we recognise the frail patient?  Does it matter?  Does it make any difference?

Age alone does not make people frail – people don’t become frail simply because they live too long.  Frailty doesn’t come with a diagnostic test, but there are signs we can look for – older people, with cognitive problems, mobility problems or functional problems, people on many medications or who live in care homes.  People who present to us with falls, incontinence or confusion.

“Frailty is everyone’s business”

The population is getting older and frailer, particularly here in Dumfries and Galloway.

Older, frail people have higher demands on health and social care services and more unplanned hospital admissions.  Once admitted, frail people are more susceptible to hospital-acquired infections, delirium, nutritional problems, falls and skincare issues.

In comparison to other patients, frail elderly patients are more likely to have prolonged hospital stays, to lose their mobility and functional abilities; they are more likely to be admitted to residential care, more likely to die.

I am a geriatrician.  I’m not at the glamorous end of medicine and I don’t have a bag full of fancy equipment, tests and treatments.  But within our medical specialty, we do have one intervention that has been shown to improve outcomes for the frail elderly –Comprehensive Geriatric Assessment

CGA means that frail older people are much more likely to be well and living at home 12 months after admission, and much less likely to be admitted to care homes or to die within those twelve months.

CGA is a multidisciplinary assessment of a patient and their physical, psychological and functional needs.  It allows us to develop a personalised, holistic and integrated plan for that patient’s care, now and in the future.  We think about how patients walk, talk, eat, drink, see, hear, think, remember, socialise, mobilise, and take their medications.  We think about how we can make all of those things better and easier for frail elderly people and their carers and families.

We all need to understand and recognise frailty.  Think about it, see it and talk about it, and allow a person’s frailty to influence decisions for their care and future.

Over 18 months we are working collaboratively with other health boards and Health Improvement Scotland to improve recognition of frailty at the front door.

Hopefully, if we get it right we can influence a better outcome, one that recognises and considers the specialist needs of our frail elderly people, one that supports them to continue to live happily and safely in a place that they can call home…


“We’ve put more effort into helping folks reach old age than into helping them enjoy it…”

Frank A. Clark, American Politician 1860-1936


If you have an interest in frailty and want more information or to become involved in our project please contact   amy.conley@nhs.net or lorna.carr2@nhs.net

Amy Conley is a Consultant in Geriatric Medicine at Dumfries and Galloway Royal Infirmary.





Culture Club by Wendy Copeland

How do you describe workplace culture to an alien… I hoped ‘google’ would have an answer, they didn’t.

I then thought of 80s pop culture and two bands jumped into my head ‘Fun Boy Three and Banarama’ when they covered a 1939 jazz standard – “It Ain’t What You Do (It’s The Way That You Do It)” (1982)

I then thought of Culture Club, and the pop culture that they helped form, which still influences popular culture today.

The Blitz Kids were a group of young people who frequented the weekly Blitz club-night in Covent GardenLondon in 1979-80, and are credited with launching the New Romantic cultural movement.

They had a common set of values, beliefs and behaviours, as well as a unique style. All part of the new romantic  culture.

(watch David Bowie’s Ashes to Ashes video – an early culture adopter filmed with extras from The Blitz).

Wendy Cop 1

Come on Wendy back into the room, what does this all mean to all of us that work in Health and Social Care and the culture we help create and work within.

Here’s a more appropriate definition

An organisation’s culture consists of the values, beliefs, attitudes, and behaviours that employees share and use on a daily basis in their work.

The culture determines how our workforce describes where they work, how they understand the system, and how they see themselves as part of the organisation. Culture is also a driver of decisions, actions, and ultimately the overall performance of the organisation.

Our Board invested in measuring our cultural norms a few months ago, you may have contributed to the survey. We are in the process of rolling out a further cohort of individual feedback reports, that helps the person get to know them self, and identifies their own beliefs, values behaviours and assumptions, and measures how others experience them.

We used a tool called Life Style Inventory (LSI), we choose this tool as it looks at strengths as well as self -defeating behaviours, in the hope that the person will further improve what is good and work to change what they could be better at.

The tool measures 12 styles  in which we choose to think about our self and how others see us operate whilst at work.

Think about it like a big 12 slice pizza, some are tasty some are not.

We all love the blue slices!     We could do with less green ones……… and let’s keep reducing the red

Wendy Cop 2Wendy Cop 3Wendy Cop 4

For people who would like more detail https://www.humansynergistics.com/change-solutions/change-solutions-for-individuals/assessments-for-individuals/life-styles-inventory

In the spirit of transparency here’s some of the learning that we, as accredited LSI practitioners have learnt about our self.

Caroline Sharp, Workforce Director NHS. Asking for feedback is a pretty scary thing to do when, like me, you’re as green as the Grinch in your thinking styles. In my head, quite a lot of green stuff churns around, especially the ‘approval’ slice of the pizza, and so of course I was anxious for ‘approval’ from others in how they experience me as a leader in our organisation. To my relief, and curiosity, my feedback from others shows me that whilst I may be ‘thinking  Grinch green’, I am ‘behaving blue’, and in particular, my ‘humanistic encouraging’ behaviour, which is about supporting others to develop and be the best that they can be, is my Constructive, people focused primary style . I also noticed in my results that there is still some white at the top of each blue ‘slice’ – so lots of opportunity to be even more blue than I am currently felt to be by others. So, I am currently wondering, and exploring how to let go of some of my passive aggressive Grinch thinking, and fully embrace the blueness that others see in me – and that feels really good in the moment, not scary at all!

Wendy Copeland: I thought I knew myself pretty well, I was confident that I would have lots of ‘blue’ and that’s what others would see when I was interacting with them.

However I was kinda gutted to see that my primary style was a pesky green. I had the approval slice of pizza! So what did that mean for me? It means I had have a tendency to agree with everyone, I like to be accepted and get upset if I am not, and I can be generous to a fault.

My second slice is Affliliative, I like to cooperate, include others and am I am friendly.

So what… what have I learnt about myself? Through reflection and coaching, I have learnt that I am a people pleaser; however I have not accepted that I always need to be like this. I am working on learning to think and act for myself, and accept that not everything I do will be met with ‘jazz hand’ approval. I am practising facing confrontation and recently handled a challenging situation as a mindful adult rather than the petulant child. I am a work in progress however already I am feeling less stressed and a belief that my view matters.

Oh and I am pleased to report that others see lots of Constructive Blue behaviours.

Wendy Copeland is Service Manager for Nithsdale in Partnership