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Change and responsibility

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VOL: 98, ISSUE: 14, PAGE NO: 51

Mark Collier, BA, RGN, ONC, RCNT, RNT

Traditionally, as the first day of spring arrives, many consider it a time of the year in which to reflect an increased optimism and renewed hope for the months ahead. Health care professionals are no different.

Traditionally, as the first day of spring arrives, many consider it a time of the year in which to reflect an increased optimism and renewed hope for the months ahead. Health care professionals are no different.

April sees a new financial year for those in the NHS, and the tight financial constraints of the past few months are generally relaxed. At the same time the government usually announces new health care spending plans and the majority feel that this time there will be a change to our working environments - both for the benefit of our patients and for us. In addition, the conference/study day season begins again in earnest after the winter lull.

So how are all three linked? The links are change and responsibility. Those responsible for managing the NHS budget have a responsibility for ensuring that finances are used effectively to provide appropriate and efficient resources. Those involved with tissue viability should be involved in part with these discussions, in order to assist the evidence-based choice of both pressure redistributing equipment and wound management materials.

The government, having promised to change things in the NHS, has a responsibility to provide the finances with which transparent changes can be effected. And finally, we as health care professionals have a responsibility to consider changing both perhaps what we ask for as well as the way we spend available finances. Attending conferences and study days may be just one example.

How many of us can honestly say that, before attending any conference or study day, we have asked ourselves the following questions: Is the programme both interesting and relevant to my current practice? Is any new material to be presented at the event? Will my attendance at the event benefit both me and my patients? How will I be able to feed back to my colleagues about the event afterwards? The reality is that all too often conferences and study days, particularly those sponsored by companies, are seen as an opportunity to 'network' with friends and colleagues and a welcome change from the stresses of everyday work. As individuals we have a responsibility to use the information from the educational event to change or update our clinical practices.

It is to be hoped that the year ahead will be different for us all, bringing renewed enthusiasm, new responsibilities and new opportunities as a result of positive changes in the NHS. However, only time will tell. It won't happen unless we all get involved and pull in the same direction.

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