Thursday, June 15, 2006

no expense spared

in these times of massive NHS deficit, you will be pleased to hear that my trust has been investing its elusive budget in worthwhile projects.

last week the following appeared on several wards:

they gradually multiplied in number to the point where most of the medical wards were covered in them.

plastered on the patient board, on the doors to the staff rooms, over the treatment room, etc

what are they? i asked around.

the doctors certainly didn't know. the ward clerk muttered something about management.

the nurses all smiled cheekily and said they couldn't tell me.

the senior nurses/matron all gleefully said "ah ha - you'll find out next week."

i did wonder whether i had wandered into john malkovich's head or perhaps the deck of the marie celeste but instead chose to try and get on with my job as reality decayed around me. i kept glancing around to see if ALF was going to appear.

anyway, so this week i stumbled into the staff room on one of the wards to see the table cleared away and lots of different coloured card, glitter, glue and felt tips replacing the usual array of rotas and handover sheets. using these tools were several hypnotically happy members of the nursing staff engaged in the making of cardboard fish and adding them to a big wall display of more fish where the noticeboard used to be.

yee gads i thought. has everyone been hit by some childhood regression alien virus? has some devilish pied piper character drawn everyone into some sort of strange cult of collage? have people been drinking the hospital Sodexho tap water again?

i still couldn't get a straight answer out of anyone through their glazed, pritt-stick covered eyes and then saw a poster (replacing the antibiotic guidance one) referring to the fish philosophy.

"for Crippen's sake, what the fuck is the fish philosophy?" you may ask, as i did as i negotiated my way through the sea of crayons.

well i suggest you check out the website. (please please have sound enabled)

once you have finished chucking out your guts in laughter/nausea pinch yourself and ask whether the world has truly gone completely nuts.

as far as i am aware, under the fish scheme staff get a "fish" for doing something "great" and once they accumulate 5 fishes they get a free cup of rancid Sodexho coffee.

i don't know how fish define something great. maybe it's... let's see... something to do with doing your job?

this is worrying for two reasons; firstly that nursing morale is so goddamn low on the medical wards (the nurses there are by and large very good but VASTLY overstretched and under supported) that they need some crazy scheme to reassure them that they're doing something worthwhile.

secondly it suggests that someone actually thought this was a grrr-eat idea and was swayed by some tosser in a lime green shirt. i dread to think how much this has cost and how many prostitutes lime green man has indulged himself with for that sum.

am i being harsh? am i completely out of touch with modern management techniques?

or do you also think this smells of horseshit? surely this is not the way to re-inspire a workforce.

i am, as always, open to the view of the blog panel.

in the interim i am not making any fucking fish.

[i am listening to Creedence Clearwater Revival - Lookin' out my back door]
[DISCLAIMER: this does not represent the views of my NHS trust... oh dear, i may get fired]


The Locum said...

It's so heartening to see your taxes so well spent, isn't it?

Although I think you're subsidising me...

NHS Manager said...

Ye Gods.

For the sake of us NHS Managers everywhere, please track this man down and practice surgical tachniques on him...

Kate said...

Having worked someplace where they attempted to put the FISH philosophy into practice....


Ok, it's not that bad, but be prepared to hear a lot of people spouting off about how you have to be balanced and make work play and a load of shit like that. It gets ridiculously bloody cloying after a while.

Dazed & Confused said...

work will never be play. that's what makes it work. i don't want any surgeon to be playing when they operate on me nor do i want any nurse to be playing when they administer my drugs. "we gave you arsenic instead. joke ha ha! play time!"

Anonymous said...

Wtf? I thought trusts we're meant to be reducing defecits, which some seem to be doing by cutting essential services...

Even if your trust isn't loosing money D&C, I'm sure the $$$$ spent on this rehash of Yank 'common sense' platitudes could've been spent on, Oh I don't know, something clinical???

Quite apart from that, it's probably gonna be bloody annoying as you become ever more submerged in fish...

Keep the posts coming!


Name withheld to protect the guilty said...

If you'll allow me a Britishism, I'm gobsmacked. Wow.

AWTY said...

Scary, very scary! Run like the's too late for the nurses, but you can still save yourself!

galatea said...

Perhaps I'm lowering the tone slightly, but I can't help thinking of that quote from the League of Gentleman film: "I made a little brown fish!"

What a ridiculous idea.

The Venial Sinner said...

I don't want to go back there. But the holiday is almost over. I'm scared! So very, very scared.

Unequivocal_Prowess said...

I linked to your site from Kate's blog and I have to tell you that they tried to force us to use the FISH philosophy at a high school and it made things WORSE. Even in a school full of kids "playing" as a concept doesn't work. We kept getting all of these shitty little gifts that related to fish-I even got a beta once that died a slow death in my office, until all of the other teachers finally revolted and told them to knock it off. I agree with you-work is work. If work feels like "play" then it's something natural, not something your force to happen. When will the corportate assholes learn?