Welcome to the first Chair’s blog for 2018 written by the Tissue Viability Society Vice Chair, Heidi Sandoz
Cinderella, the NHS lonely daughter who provides wound care/tissue viability services, was feeling despondent at the end of 2017. For decades she had been trying to expand her service to ensure all patients who needed her could have access to her. She reflected back to 2012 when pressure ulcers became a hot potato for the NHS and how positive she had felt then. This was going to be the moment where finally tissue viability could influence agenda and the NHS governing bodies would see sense in providing access to specialist services for those living with a wound.
“This is it” she said. “This is our moment”.
“Oh no it isn’t” said the Ugly Stepmother “instead I am going to keep you in your tiny, dark office counting pressure ulcers, reporting on pressure ulcers and running around looking at bottoms to work out the cause and category of damage”.
Now, Cinderella wasn’t denying this had made a difference to many many patients. They had entered NHS services and left without a pressure ulcer where maybe prior to 2012 this would not have been the case. Cinderella now knew why they had happened, when they were avoidable and how to deliver teaching in more and more innovative ways to improve preventative care. All positive stuff but the darker side of this was that it came at a price to people living with other wounds, in particular leg ulcers.
When Cinderella fell asleep at night, counting pressure ulcers to help, she dreamt of a service that would provide the best care for all, whatever their wound.
Cinderella sighed and shuffled some dusty papers around her desk. Underneath she noticed a bright yellow folder. Written on the front in beautiful writing was Ticket to the Ball.
“Where did that come from?” she exclaimed.
“Behind you” whispered a voice. Cinderella jumped and turned around but there was no-one there. “I must be imagining things” she said, putting it down to the exhaustion of writing so many business cases this year.
She opened the folder and pulled out the contents.
- The Five Year Forward View (2014)
- AN article from the BMJ by Guest et al (2015)
- Leading Change Adding Value (2016)
- Five Year Forward View: Next Steps (2017)
Suddenly, a Fairy Godmother appeared.
“Oh gosh” said an astonished Cinderella. “I must be seriously sleep deprived”.
The Fairy Godmother handed her an electronic tablet and asked her to watch. The tablet started to move through websites. It showed…
- How all the documents in the folder had pulled together to get wound care noticed by NHS England.
- How the wound assessment CQUIN was raising the profile.
- How Betty’s story highlighted the situation many people living in Cinderella’s area were experiencing using the sub-optimal pathway.
- How in the House of Lords, Lord Hunt had posed a question “To ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to develop a strategy for improving the standards of wound care in the NHS” (http://bit.ly/2zwdzlm).
- And how education for wound care was being considered as well as commissioning for wound care services.
“And best of all” said the Fairy Godmother, “NHSE have a group considering leg ulcer care”.
Finally, a lovely blue and pink website popped up, the Tissue Viability Society.
“Well that’s not new” said Cinderella “I’m a member, I went to the brilliant Conference in Edgbaston in 2017 and I’m going in April to Newcastle if I can get funding”.
“Oh yes Cinderella, but did you know these guys are in on all these exciting developments?”
“What do you mean?” asked Cinderella.
“The TVS isn’t just a website, or a Conference. It’s a group of Trustees who are just like you. They’ve felt how you feel now, they’ve been deeply frustrated at how obvious it is that improving leg ulcer and wound care will change so many things and yet the Ugly Stepmother just won’t see it.”
The Fairy Godmother smiled and looked fondly at Cinderella.
“But do you know what Cinderella? They didn’t give up, they got together and they committed. Their passion, just like yours, is the fairy dust. They are involved in all of these programmes with NHS England and NHS Improvement. They are advising these departments and along with others from other organisations such as the Leg Ulcer Forum, the Lyndsey Leg Club, the British Lymphology Society, to name but a few, they are effecting change.”
Cinderella felt a stirring in her tummy, the tingle of passion began to re-emerge.
“This year they will be launching, along with several other collaborating organisations, the Legs Matter Campaign. This will reach out to those living with a lower limb skin integrity issue”.
“What fun” said Cinderella wistfully. “It must be amazing to be able to feel you really are making a difference for all and not just those you meet. I wish I could do that but I’m sure they won’t want me”.
“Cinderella” the Fairy Godmother said reproachfully “now is the time. I know you’re tired and giving your all here but wouldn’t it be great to give more to the masses? To share in their vision? This folder is the ticket Cinderella, the date for the ball has yet to be set but these guys, the TVS Trustees, they are the coach and horses who can take you to the ball. You’re doing fantastic work here at NHS Somewhere – you can do it for the whole country.”
Cinderella scrolled through the TVS pages and came upon the Become a Trustee link. She looked up at the Fairy Godmother. She was no longer there.
“Was she ever there at all” thought Cinderella “I don’t know but I know I don’t just want to go to the ball. I want to organise it and I want to help others get there!”
And with that, Cinderella set her New Year’s Resolution. To become a TVS Trustee and make a difference to the many and not just a few!
Narrator – Heidi Sandoz, TVS Vice Chair
Cinderella – A TVN somewhere just like you!
The Fairy Godmother – Was she ever really there? Or was it that quiet inner voice called intuition?