What’d be the worst thing that could happen when government inspectors make a spot check of your facilities? Well, try beating an absconding patient mugging one of the inspectors during their walkabout, snatching their bag and then being arrested further down the road to the wail of police sirens. Suffice to say their feedback was less than glowing.


Mental health is a funny place to work. Patients staying in the medium secure forensic unit which houses offenders not suitable for prison because of mental health problems are putting on a short production of Macbeth.

A nice light play full of blood, mayhem, murder and madness. Should be interesting.


If you head a mental health trust it is most probably not the done thing to come out of your office with the words ‘I must be going mad but …’


The boss is starting to unravel at the seams as the tide of government reforms begins to wash away the foundations of the past three years work. Snapping turtle is served up daily and general pleasantries such as acknowledging your staff’s existence left by the wayside.

“if you aren’t looking for another job, you should be,” was her last priceless gem of team building.

The path to hell is a gradual slope but we are gathering speed nicely and everyone remains button lipped. It’s all so very British. If this was Mexico the machetes would have been whetted and the heads rolling.


It’s sobering in these times of austerity that a consultant is currently offering his services to the NHS for an hourly rate of £666. One of the skills listed on his CV? Cost savings and reward management. Nice work if you can get it.


Got cornered by a couple of seemingly benign pensioners today at a health event.

They looked harmless enough but I should of seen the warning signs in their rheumy eyes. They flanked me and then worked the good cop, bad cop routine telling ever elaborate stories about themselves.

They were a likable pair but an insufferably long yarn about replacing their lawn with paving slabs left me no alternative but to hide in the museum shop.

The blue rinsers simply switched their attention to my colleague who was next in line for an ear bashing. If only US Intelligence knew of their existence they’d be snapped up by the psychological warfare unit.


His Royal Highness descended from his eight floor eyrie today to tell us about his plans to implement a 30% cut in the workforce starting next month.

He began with the usual platitudes about remaining professional, focusing on what mattered and ignoring hearsay while delivering some telling body blows with his velvet padded gloves.

There was talk of a Mutually Agreed Redundancy scheme and the ‘September conversations’ which sound like the title of a Robert Ludlam novel but referred to an assessment process we’ll all undergo to decide who ends up filling the meat pies.

“I see this as a stage in our journey, not the end of it,” he told the bowed heads before graciously telling us he would remain in post until the termination of the primary care trust in 2013. A hardship indeed when you earn more than £100,000 a year


The fortunes of workplace departments tend to be cyclic and a new employee can join at any time during the cycle of eternal drudgery.

You could start work with a new influx of fellow staff and be part of a rebirth, which is like the dizzy ascent of a rocket. You could join an established team and flourish under its prosperity or be part of the dying planet that has been plundered of all its resources and is about to implode.

I’ve seen them all come and go a few times but am currently on a dying star that has had the misfortune to drift into the path of a black hole.

The dying star is the NHS and the event horizon is health minister Andrew Lansley who is happily dismantling the organisation into bite sized chunks for the private sector to consume. The Conservatives are nothing if not predictable.

The work place signs are all there. The lack of camaraderie, humour and patience. The aimless empty blustering of senior officers who offer false assurances while planning their own escape and the resignation and listless air of the condemned who plod on because they don’t know what else to do.

Guy Fawkes. Where are you when we need you?


It’s entertaining to see GPs suddenly realise that being given the power to decide how and where money is spent on health care in the UK is tempered by the fact that the buck stops with them.

Yes, boys and girls, you get the honey pot but you also get the sticky hands from holding it – and all that sticks is not sweet.

The days of palming off tough decisions on primary care trusts are coming to an end as trusts wind down in anticipation of the transfer of power to GP consortia in 2013.

It will, for the first time, see GPs collective head firmly above the parapet as primary budget holders. Break out the tin helmets and flak jackets.


The auspices of the recession are used to bring into play all manner of thumb-screws on employees.

Slippery eel speak is the order of the day. People are being asked to do more for less and the unspoken word is that we’ll be collectively selling bootlaces on a street corner by Christmas.

In an effort to allay fears, our glorious leader is about to embark on a floor-by-floor ‘meet the riff-raff’ tour where he will reassure us that all is well upon the burning boat and we should stay at our posts.

We’re doomed when that barracuda in a suit decides to walk among the great unwashed.

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