I was lucky enough to be successful in securing a ticket to attend this year’s TEDxNHS event in London on 15th August. The event is designed to bring together people who work for the NHS; to share stories, experiences and innovations that both celebrate and inspire the workforce. And inspire it did.
The event was held at Wilton’s Music Hall in East London; a fabulously restored theatre styled with worn-plaster walls and vintage decor. The organising team had secured a variety of sponsors who provided a range of refreshments both during the breaks and in the ‘goody’ bags. It made a refreshing change to attend an NHS event in a stylish venue with good food and drink as appose to the usual hospital training room with BYO sandwiches and lukewarm tea. Easy as it is to condemn such details as frivolous during the current period of austerity – I welcomed the effort of organising team to find a beautiful and unique venue. It really enhanced the overall feeling of the event being a celebration of the attendees.
The programme was arranged into three sections, each with its own theme: ‘Rising to the challenge’, ‘Empowering the mind’ and ‘Embracing the unknown’. Themes consisted of a range of speakers, performers and videos, each representing a unique experience of healthcare in the NHS. Speakers had 10 minutes for their presentations, which maintained the pace of the day and kept the audience engaged. Performances of music, poetry and magic by people who either had professional experience in the NHS, or were people with disabilities and had therefore relied on NHS care, provided opportunities to reflect or relax during the energetic programme. Videos of previous TED talks also offered moments of light-hearted diversion from what, at times, was some quite emotive content.
The speakers represented an impressive portfolio of skills and experience. They consisted of medics, service users, a nurse, an NHS CEO, a parent, a designer and a police sergeant. Their presentations each told a personal story. Some speakers shared tales of developing health services, others offered accounts of intimate and at times heart-rending health events that had affected them. It was hard not to be both moved and inspired by the events that they described but also in their resolve to share their stories to improve the experience of others. The resounding theme amongst the speaker’s narratives was their passion and how this fuels them either professionally, personally or both. I most certainly left feeling #inspiredbypeople.
What really stood out for me about the day was the range of healthcare issues, experiences and innovations that were showcased. In such a large organisation it is easy to loose sight of what is happening outside of individual departments and teams. There is a fantastic array of activities happening in any one Trust on any given day but as employees we rarely get the opportunity to learn about them, let alone celebrate them. There are also many similarities in the challenges that face groups of professions, teams and services. There is much we can learn from the innovations of others but we can also learn from their adversity. My only disappointment about the event was the lack of Allied Health Professionals on the programme. I would like to see representation from AHPs in future events as I know that we would have much to add to such a dynamic and inspiring programme. I would highly recommend this event to anyone working in the NHS; it certainly achieves, and at times surpasses, what it sets out to do.