Former NHS Nurse and manager now contemplating the NHS from outside

Archive for the ‘Work’ Category

Back

After 3 months of rest, recuperation, holidays, spending money and general enjoyment I am now back working for the NHS. Note the word ‘for’, since I am not actually part of it. I am now an independent contractor working on a project that was left unfinished. I am back with my ex boss and her small team. I am back in the same office, in the same building I left at the end of March. I have re-instated my nhs.net account and hopefully in the next few days I will be able to log onto work computers again. Yesterday I went into the office; it was to say the least surreal.

I used to look at the invoices of contractors and discuss with colleagues that they seemed to earn a lot of money for what they did. I am not sure that the rate I have negotiated is excessive, since I will have to pay my own tax and national insurance, but it is a reasonable amount. I am going to be working 3 days a week for the next few months and hopefully that will put me on a footing for more work in the future.

The building now contains several organisations, where in March there was one. I heard that the staff working in the CCGs are not always pleasant and friendly to those working for the CSU. I heard that already people are leaving, jobs are becoming vacant. I heard that a number of those who were made redundant, are like me, back working. I heard that those working in the CCGs are still trying to work out what exactly they are doing. I guess that is no surprise.

I found yesterday in the office a little claustrophobic. It is 3 months since I sat still for so long, since I sat in such a small office for so long. I think that 3 days will definitely be enough in one place. Mind you I will be out and about a lot, my job is to try to sort out the clinical groups so that they are fit for purpose in the future. I am going to finish off the job we couldn’t do last year and which predictably there currently are insufficient permanent staff to manage.

Still it is nice to be back in the world of work even if I will now have to juggle it around my expanding social life. But, I do still have some bills to pay even if I am now completely debt free!

Process

The process which led to my redundancy and now it seems, beyond progressed neither smoothly nor as it should. I haven’t written about this before because I believed that I had put it all behind me. Yesterday I discovered that this is not the case.

A few weeks before my redundancy I received one of many letters from HR, this time offering not just redundancy, but a choice of that or taking one of two pension packages. I was surprised, despite still being in the 1995 pension scheme, and having paid in for over 30 years, I was (and still am) only 50. I sought financial advice and decided to take the maximum pension lump sum, a monthly pension and a small redundancy payment. I duly completed the forms and sent them in to payroll. Yesterday, more than 4 weeks later, I contacted NHS pensions to discover that my employers did not submit the online application to them until 2nd April and secondly that it takes up to 3 months to process a claim. Employers are meant to ensure that employees apply with 3 months notice.

Of course my employer would have preferred not to make me redundant, therefore they were late to give me any notice at all, and until about a week before they acted as if a magic job might appear on the horizon for me and my colleagues. Therefore everything was completed at the last minute, or in my case beyond that date.

Thankfully I have some money to ensure that we don’t starve before July, NHS pensions say that any payments will be backdated, but really that is not the point. This is really just about the way I have been treated from the moment it became apparent in around November that this wouldn’t be a smooth process. Consultation processes were not completed as they should have been, interview processes seemed at the best odd and then there was the whole ‘at risk’ situation and the feeling that you could be shoved into any job. One day, someone approached me and offered me a job in IT on a lower salary and for fewer hours than I was at the time contracted to work. Suitable alternative employment it was not.

I was not obstructive, I did as I needed to do and applied for no end of jobs. Jobs that I could see myself doing. I had been in this kind of position before and wanted to come out of it with my career and reputation in tact. That slightly went wrong and I am required to be compensated for that. I am annoyed that yet again the process has let me down! I am also annoyed that I can’t get my kitchen refitted yet, and that by the time I do I fully expect to be back in work (more about that when things are confirmed).

End of rant!

Seeking closure and embracing new opportunities

It is only two days since I ceased to be employed in the NHS and I know that it will take a little longer for my mind to defog and my brain to clear. The main thing for me right now is the amazing tiredness I feel. On one hand I want to do so much with my free time, I want to sort out the spare room and make it in to some kind of office space – I have brought home a load of personal and also kind of work related stuff that I think will be useful in the future. I also want to have a bit of a spring clean around the house, I want to declutter and I also want to do some fun things. I want to organise trips away. I am also mindful that I will need to work at some point soon, so I have some work to do in following up contacts and preparing for work.

Usually, I find myself rushing around, doing a bit of this and a bit of that. Rushing to complete things over the weekend or during a few days off. I am aware that this is different. I no longer need to rush anywhere, to complete everything in double quick time. I am also aware that I do feel weary as I said above.

I need to spend some time right now reflecting on what has happened, thinking about the process that I was involved in. A process that started with me feeling incredibly hopeful that I would get a job and a good one at that and ended with me being made redundant. I hope to use this blog to help in that process. I have been a poor blogger for a couple of years now. Firstly it was because I was unhappy in my commissioning job, then too busy in my new cancer network job and then because I feared saying something which could ultimately get me into trouble with my employers.

This morning, there is lots on the news programmes about the various changes that have come into force in both the NHS, in welfare and in local government. I feel I should be able to say some profound things about all of this, today, indeed right now. But actually I don’t think I can.

I am going to take a few days. I am going to read a book or two. I am going to get back to reading  some of the blogs around and about, and update my blogroll here. I am going to start sorting out the spare room and I am going to look around the shops. After all a girl is entitled to retail therapy when she has been made redundant!

Then in a few days, as my brain and my mind begins to clear I will write about the past and about the future. I will talk generally about my take on how things are in the NHS and also about my role in it (if I am to have one). I am not meant to work for the NHS for a month. I don’t think that will be a problem for me.

My first day has started a bit strangely. I was happily blogging, sitting up in bed when the phone rang. My son who went off to visit and stay with friends yesterday called to say he was on the train and could I pick him up shortly. I found myself scraping the ice off my car at 7.30am; not the way I expected to start my first day of freedom!

Business as usual

In the middle of a chaotic reorganisation we carry on regardless. We are busy supporting our network groups, arranging workshops and training, recruiting users to help with service developments and reporting on things that have been done. We are busy full stop. We work hard and we work pretty long hours between us. But, you might ask and I often ask, why? Why are we bothering to put so much effort into things that we don’t know will continue in the future?

Well partly because we are kind of required to do so. There are rules in place, there are requirements on us and they haven’t gone away. There are also people out there, clinical people, who still need our support to be able to meet together and discuss how they can continue to improve things for people with cancer. There are campaigns for early diagnosis that we are still involved with and detecting cancer and doing so as soon as possible is a priority area. We are also trying to create some kind of legacy, to make sure that what we do, what has been done continues. While people in high places continue to work out how the new world will work, we carry on working in this world.

We are interacting now with the new CCGs; the board members, GPs who are finding out about their responsibilities to their populations. They find that we do useful work, have knowledge they can’t hope (or want) to learn. They wonder how, come April they will be supported in making sure that cancer and end of life care is best commissioned.

We prepare to apply for jobs. The adverts were meant to have been released last week, now apparently it will be this. The top job will be appointed to in the next week or two and then that person (and who knows who else) will interview us sometime in the run up to Christmas. In the new year we will know more about what those with jobs will do in them and we will discover if we continue with business as usual in the old set up.

It all feels a little unreal. But of course it is real. These are real people, with real jobs, real mortgages and bills who shop in real supermarkets and go on real holidays. It is easy to write off those who work in some kind of administration. But the fact I left clinical practice enables others still seeing patients to spend as much time as possible doing so. If there are fewer of us doing those supportive jobs, either fewer patients will be seen or else fewer patients will be able to be sure that advances in implementing best practice will take place.

Those of us who get jobs in the new world of strategic networks will work hard to make sure this doesn’t happen of course. But there are no guarantees. Of course I may be wide of the mark and the new systems may be an improvement on the old ones. Lets hope so for all of our sakes!

Time for an update

Was it really March when I last posted here? For a long time this year, very little happened in my bit of the NHS. Essentially we got on with the day job and waited. I had got fed up with writing about it here and if I am bored, I can guarantee that it wouldn’t make very interesting reading. I think that situation has changed and that what is currently happening in PCTs (and elsewhere) to be honest needs to be written about, since there is little being said in the media or newspapers (other than the Guardian). I predict that once the dust has settled and the ‘bureaucracy’ has been removed, some people will be very shocked by what is left. They will be surprised that the NHS isn’t actually being run by GPs (though they have a wonderful nominal role) but by rehashed senior managers some of whom work in Leeds and many more work out in the local areas.

Over the next few days and weeks I will try to explain the mess that Andrew Lansley put in place and what the implications are for people like me. More importantly though what are the implications for people working on the front line, and vitally what does it mean for patients? Will any of this matter? Time will tell I guess but I suspect that perhaps it will.

The Cancer Networks, one of which I work within, will be subsumed into a new kind of Strategic Clinical Network. This will include not just cancer, but heart disease and stroke, mental health and maternity and children. There will be 12 of these networks which will be hosted within some of the Local Area Teams of the National Commissioning Board. Staffing will be reduced from current levels, but with just a few months to go, we don’t really know by how many nor indeed to we know exactly what these people might do.

My job is about facilitating clinical people to work together to improve cancer outcomes. Some clinical people, I might tell you, need a hell of a lot of ‘facilitating’. I also work with patients and carers to make sure that they are able to contribute to the development and delivery of services. When (rather than if) that kind of support is not available, I am not quite sure what will happen. The work of course will go on and best not to engage in some kind of amateur dramatics here about the value of me and my colleagues. But there are lots of things that we do, that appear to be valued and necessary that I can’t imagine being picked up by any one else. So as things emerge, I will try to discuss them here.

We really are on count down now, and likely by the end of the year many of us will be on notice of redundancy. Others though are luckier, particularly those working in areas where they can be mapped into jobs in the CCGs, the CSU or Public Health. I hear you cry what is a CCG? What is a CSU. Well good question and perhaps I could do a little bit along the lines of trying to define them. Maybe you can tell I am just a little bit more keen to return soon and say more. Time to resurrect this dying blog and wonder about what Life in the NHS is like right now!

Spring has sprung

I love this time of year. Each day as I look out of the window, drive to work and back I notice that the leaves have a little more blossom, a few more leaves. The daffodils are now in full flower and to top it all we have been experiencing highly unusual sunny and warm weather. It makes you feel good. Spring is a time of new beginnings a time to clear out the cobwebs, to clean the house, to get ready for the summer ahead. This year I approach spring feeling refreshed because I have recently had 3 weeks off work; 2 in USA and 1 at home. I have taken a break from work, and from concerning myself with the problems of the NHS. Now though I am back in the mix and raring to go.

The Government must also be glad that with the advent of spring, they have finally got their Health and Social Care Bill through; it will receive royal assent within the next couple of weeks. Mind you I believe they have other worries (a budget that many felt favoured the ‘haves’ rather than the ‘have nots’, scandal over dinners with David Cameron and an impending fuel tanker strike to name a few).

Next week we start a new financial year, the last of the PCTs. This is going to be an interesting year as we head towards transition towards the new world of healthcare commissioning and provision. Already our PCT is getting ready to become a Commissioning Support Unit. Local Clinical Commissioning Groups are preparing to be ratified or whatever the process is called and everyone without exception working in the health economy faces the reality of doing more for less money (that’s just the budget but personally we face similar challenges).

I don’t agree with the Bill but enough is enough. We have to move forward, we have to prepare for new beginnings. I fear things won’t go completely as the Government would like and in a perverse way I am quite looking forward to seeing how it all pans out. It would be fun if this wasn’t public money, real lives and real jobs. What is worse is that this is healthcare; mistakes can lead to people missing out on the care they need and it can lead to death. We watch and wait.

Meanwhile I’ll enjoy the good weather while it lasts; it will turn cold by the weekend and eventually it will rain!

A slow death

So the progress of the NHS Health and Social Care Bill goes on and on. This week the Bill has gone back to the house of Lords, where the hundred or more amendments will be debated and either rejected or passed. Everyone who understands anything about this Bill and it’s implications knows that it is doomed to failure. We know that rather than less bureaucracy, more will be created, that where private industry is brought in to run services they will soon realise that healthcare doesn’t tend to run at a profit, unless you are a GP lining your pockets. The people to suffer for this mess will be the people in England with the greatest need; people with little or no income, who lead what might be described as unhealthy lives, who can’t articulate what they need and often who suffer from more than one long-term condition.

Those of us who work for PCTs will now have to go through a final, slow and painful journey to whatever awaits us; NHS commissioning board outpost, Commissioning Support Unit, Clinical Commissioning Group, Local Authority. Fewer people doing the same or more work. Contrary to what the government say it will be the same people doing the work next year, only there will be less of us and we will be spread around a number of organisations. The outlook feels gloomy.

Short term though I finish work tomorrow for 3 glorious weeks away from the PCT.  2 weeks visiting my lovely son in California for his 21st birthday and another resting  up at home. Hopefully I will return refreshed and ready to face the final year of the PCT; I think I am going to need it!

Of course we can only hope that while I am in the USA something untoward happens!

Happy New Year!

So 2012 has arrived. It is good at this point in the year, i.e. at the start to reflect back on the good, bad and ugly of the previous 12 months and to look ahead to the coming months. 2011 was pretty eventful. In June I was interviewed for a job which finally in October I was able to start. In December I was at last allowed to stop doing two jobs at once, just as well as the new one has just got pretty busy. There are lots to do to help support the improvement in services for people with cancer. I just hope that this job can last past the end of my secondment (March 2013); as the year goes on that should become clearer as we await a report on the future of clinical networks which is due in the next few weeks. The great thing about a new job is that it means you have new things to learn, and things have moved on massively in the world of cancer care since I was working clinically so my learning curve has been pretty steep. I actually look forward to going to work each day and that is a pretty good thing.

I am also pleased to report that my dad, who was coincidentally diagnosed with cancer around the time of my interview, has completed chemotherapy and at present seems to be doing well. This is a huge relief as the cancer is secondary and probably cannot be cured. It was great to see him eating and drinking well and buzzing around us all as usual. Fingers crossed that the scan he had a few days ago confirms this.

My son, who is studying in California for a year is home for Christmas. It has been great having him home even if it seems to have doubled the amount of washing and ironing I have to do and has increased the food bills considerably. He goes back on January 15th, but this time we can look forward to seeing him just a month later when hubby and I visit for his 21st birthday.

So I start 2012 hopeful that this might be a reasonable one for me personally. At work we continue to live through the protracted process of the new NHS Bill which is not yet law, but which is causing a fair amount of change for the sake of change. The GP commissioners are flexing their muscles but at the same time discovering that commissioning is not about telling people what to do and expecting it to just be done. From my new position within a clinical network which will be part of the Commissioning Board I am finding all of the PCT related stuff interesting. People are not surprisingly positioning themselves and that is always fun to observe!

New years resolutions? Well probably best not to promise anything but I will try to blog more (but then I have tried that before).

I wish everyone who takes the time to read this blog post a happy and healthy new year. I hope 2012 is full of promise for you too!

At last

After being interviewed for a new job, a secondment, at the end of June, I have finally got started in the role. For the last two weeks, and for probably another two weeks I am in effect doing two jobs. This is an approach I would not recommend but sometimes we have to make sacrifices in order to get what we want from life.

I moved desks, within the same building, on 3rd Oct and since then have combined induction into the world of cancer and palliative care with managing what I can physically do in the world of maternity and acute children’s commissioning. I am really pleased to say that the new team have been really welcoming, my old team gave me a good send off and all of the people within the network that I have met so far have been friendly.

My new job started with a 2 day meeting in London which was great for giving me a grounding on current issues in cancer services and also in working through some issues about how we can best approach the issue of needing to make sure the voice of the patient / user / carer heard in the way services are planned and provided. I think that hopefully there will be lots for me to write about on this topic once I get my brain properly into gear.

As for the old job, there is plenty that I would like to write about how you should not manage people, and about the emotional mechanisms a person may use to cover up their own short comings and make you feel guilty for them. However that may be difficult and what is more I think moving on rather than going on about it might be more healthy!

The Health and Social Care Bill has this week progressed further on its slow and painful journey to some brave new world that is only clear to people like Andrew Lansley. But it is now inevitable that it will soon be law; it pains me to say but the sooner the better now. We cannot continue with all of this uncertainty and what is more the PCTs are busy making the necessary changes to make it happen and it would be a crime to put the brakes on and go into reverse now. My hope is that the review of clinical networks comes out clearly saying that they need to be developed and strengthened and that what is more that my job needs to be made permanent. There is no way on earth that once I say a final goodbye to commissioning that I intend to go back. But I guess they say never say never!!

Blocks to blogging

Since April I haven’t really felt inclined to posting anything to my blog. I have thought frequently about why this might be and I think the answer is that when I feel low, confused about things and generally fed up though not particularly angry I often find I just don’t want to blog. This has been my state of mind since April. As I mentioned in my post the other day, the first thing that took place was the ‘pause’.

Wisely, it seemed at the time, the government who had not thought through their NHS changes, realised their may be fundamental problems in winning the hearts and minds of both those working within healthcare and those using it. The key problem was that they couldn’t adequately articulate how the new NHS would be better than the old one. They couldn’t tell us how the fundamental ethos of the NHS (free at the point of contact for all of those in need) would be retained. Essentially they couldn’t tell us how this wasn’t privatisation by the back door. The whole pause thing was, just as most consultations are, pretty much paying lip service to the doubters. Some changes were announced but it is clear that the Health Secretary is determined to push things through.

Further announcements about structural changes go on unchecked, despite the fact that the Bill is no further forward today than it pretty much was in April. The SHAs have clustered, specialist commissioners are preparing for a rationalisation complete with redundancies; those who remain will be footprints or some such! Yesterday this diagram appeared in the Guardian to demonstrate what the new leaner, less bureaucratic NHS will look like.

While all of this has been going on my own employer has tried to keep us informed and up to date. The truth is that there has been little to keep us up to date with except perhaps the fact that the changes continue. The GP consortia may now be Clinical Commissioning Groups, but that hasn’t changed the level of positioning and posturing being undertaken by senior colleagues. The extent to which everyone worries about what the consortia want is at times paralysing. This makes for a less than cheery working environment.

Time then for a secondment. A trip to the Cancer Network, which you will see from the diagram will be an advisor to the commissioners, and indeed to the provider. It will report to the National Commissioning Board. If things go well, then perhaps this will be a permanent move. What is sure though, is that my mood is lifting and I know I will have the chance to learn and do new things and for me that can only be good.

Its been a long time

Over two months to be precise. Since my last post in April the NHS has paused so that the NHS Health and Social Care Bill can be properly consulted on. Sadly it looks like there will be little significant difference to the way in which health services will be commissioned and provided. Andrew Lansley’s legislation continues its slow and painful process through Parliament and PCT employees not already redundant or moved await their fate. I on the other hand have taken a small step towards safety. In a bit over a month I will start a secondment with our local Cancer Network, I am taking a job with responsibility for improving the quality of cancer services. This is a pretty tall order, but will be an interesting challenge. I hope that this secondment will lead to something permanent once the future of Clinical Networks are secured.

In other news my son will soon be off to California to study at Pitzer College for a year. He is excited and I am excited for him.  It will feel pretty strange though to have him so far away.

The NHS pause, a general feeling of malaise with my current job and some family health troubles have prevented me from feeling inclined to post to my blog. Guess what though? I am now feeling more inclined to write more and I’ll be back soon!

Yipee a short week!

Some weeks the time flies by and suddenly it is Friday. This is a short working week and it seems an eternity since Monday morning. The causes have been both work and the problems of ordinary life that sometimes kick you to remind you not to be complacent. Work wise, the actions of a few people in an NHS Trust and the decisions they made without discussion on Friday last week impacted on my working week big time. This has the effect of meaning that the diary you thought you had at 8.45am on Monday has suddenly changed by 9am. It also means that you cannot be productive in the way you thought you would be. One good effect was that while waiting to go into a meeting with some Directors on Tuesday I did a massive clear up job on my email inbox and that is a really good outcome for the week.

On Tuesday afternoon at around 4.30pm all was calm; I decided to make the most of the good weather and get out of the office, go home and sit in my garden for a while. A chain of events meant that by the time I got home at 11pm, my car was in the garage awaiting repair to work out why it wouldn’t start plus a smashed bumper, and puncture caused by my darling husband forgetting to steer while being towed!

A day off yesterday wasn’t spent taking Matt back to Uni as planned, but on the phone to insurance companies etc. The silver lining was that I managed to cut the grass and finished a book I had been meaning the time to read.

Today being carless means a walk to the station and a train. The good thing is we get to finish at 3pm; time off for hard work and good behaviour. No work for me till Tuesday; lets hope no one decides to do anything today that might affect the potential tranquility next week!

Pay more, work longer, end up with less

What a cheery week this is turning out to be.

Gadaffi is busy overseeing the murder of his own people, politicians across the world are busy scratching their heads and wondering what to do without seeming about to create another Iraq. Meanwhile we find that petrol is now £6 per gallon (remember that measurement?) food prices rise by the week. Soon enough we will all need banker style bonuses to make ends meet.

Fat chance. This is 2011 in the UK. This is the year (or perhaps decade) to bash the public sector worker. We are apparently all lazy people on massive salaries who push a pen (or certainly sit at a desk) all day inventing rules for rules sake. Not only to we turn up late, leave early, have too much holiday, perhaps get paid overtime and some other unnecessary benefits but at the end of it all we can live it up on a grand gold plated pension for 40 years or something.

I joined the NHS pension scheme when I was 18. Every month since then I have paid 6% of my salary into this pension. I have no idea what 30 years of paying into the scheme equates to. What I do know is that for some time I have known that we are all on borrowed time. The final salary must go, the early retirement must go and we must all work longer.

Strangely enough even in 1980 we were being taught about a demographic time bomb. We were told that as the baby boom generation aged then the population of the country would age. As time went on and diseases were cured, or better managed with an ever ending stream of new and ever more expensive drugs we were told that that time bomb was ticking so loudly you could hear it a mile away.

Even as the private sector abandoned their final salary pensions (many of them ones that the employees didn’t even have to pay into) we failed to recognise that one day that would be us.

I was never going to be able to retire at 55, but 60 seemed reasonable. Now who knows? No one in my family lives to a  particularly old age, though both my parents are alive (aged 73). My lifestyle is reasonably healthy so perhaps I will live long. I pay £250 per month in pension, this is more than my hubby can afford to pay into his private scheme so I am in effect paying for 2 of us. He does a manual job and at 52 is already weary.

On retirement we won’t have a mortgage but could still be financially supporting our son since it gets harder and harder for young people to afford to buy property etc. We would however like to be able to go on holiday and enjoy ourselves while we can.

You have to fear that in the next 20 years the norm will be for no retirement and a philosophy of work till you drop!

You know you are getting old when…

You truly believe that things were better in the old days.

I have always thought that my nurse training prepared me well not only for a nursing career but for life in general. I was lucky enough to train in London where, not only was the clinical care excellent but actually we were well taught by nurses and also doctors who were already understanding the concept of evidence based practice (even if it wasn’t articulated then). We were also lucky that we had amazing staffing ratios even if most of that staffing came from students rather than properly qualified nurses. I accept that we were given a lot of responsibility (perhaps too much) early on in our training and that sometimes our patients may have been at risk in a way we couldn’t have understood because of it. However we learned quickly and effectively how to provide an excellent level of nursing care to our patients. We were encouraged to care about people, to be compassionate.

The higher than average ratios of nurses to patients  meant that we were often able to talk to our patients (of course at that time we could even perch on their bed), we had time to give people a drink, to feed those unable to do so for themselves. We turned people unable to do so for themselves and we changed unpleasantly messy beds. It wasn’t usually glamorous but we were there to care weren’t we?

In the last couple of weeks I have been reading a great book “Yes Sister No Sister” by Jennifer Craig a nurse who trained in Leeds in the 1950′s. My nurse training was in one way nothing like she describes – life was really hard for those girls. Long hours, long days, hard work, cleaning and preparing meals as well as providing nursing care. Just testing urine involved bunsen burners and could have done with a chemistry degree. However my training was heavily based on the principles of those days. The over lay of the vocation of nursing remained and we were actually better for it.

I have for many years welcomed the professionalisation of nursing. I welcome the fact many of us have degrees. I welcome that we challenge the status quo. But do nurses out there starting on their careers actually care? Do they believe in what they are doing or is it just a job? A means to earn a living, a way to get to a higher level?

Yesterday the health ombudsman reported on 10 cases of poor care of elderly people in the NHS. This isn’t just about nursing but is about a whole system failing in how we care for the most vulnerable people in society.

More on this later!

Resolutions for 2011

The last day of 2010 and I think that means it must be time for a blog post. I won’t apologise any more for not writing  my blog, nor will I make any promises about blogging more; it is pretty likely I will break any resolution like that before the year is a few days old. All in all I’d say January 1st is a poor time to resolve to do anything, after all many people are either hung over, or sleep deprived or both. Although I have titled this post “Resolutions for 2011″ I think it might be more apt to spell out my “intentions for 2011″ then I can justify my failure when things don’t work out. So here goes:

  1. To continue to have a job throughout the year – 2011 will see the continued NHS changes, with the Health Bill published later in January. The year will be an uncertain one as we don’t know yet just how much of the change will take place; PCTs won’t be abolished until March 2013 but change will be progressive.
  2. To save as much money as possible – Matt plans to study in the US for a year from this autumn and it is going to cost us a pretty penny. Not to mention the fact that we will need to visit too. This year will be a year of austerity for the country and for us.
  3. Having said the above, I intend to take a break somewhere new this year. Florence in Italy would be my current favourite.
  4. To get fitter and slimmer – usual thing but after about 2 years of pretty constant weight, I have slipped up a bit over the last few months and put on a few pounds and what is more haven’t been to Zumba or pranced about infront of my Wii for 3 months. That must change and change as soon as possible.
  5. Linked to the above, both Barry and I have slipped into a bad routine of having a drink when we get in from work. That also must change and alcohol needs to be for weekends and special occasions. This will be better financially, for health and for my weight!
  6. I’ll try not to fall out with any of my relatives (particularly those only related by marriage) but at the same time I am going to try not to allow myself to be walked all over.

So there you have it. I’ll be back at some point to see how these intentions are progressing…..

Meanwhile a Happy New Year to anyone who happens past this Blog!

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