So, here is my 2017 New Year’s Resolution… to reopen Nurden’s Notebook.
It has been three years since I last shared its pages. Much has happened since then although some things remain the same.
I am still sharing Cobweb Castle with Mrs Nurden, although she has banished me to the West Wing because of my snoring. We still have the Creatures of the Night. One remains with us – we have given him a room in the dungeon – and the other is married with two children who I refer to as the Boy Childs.
That means I have entered the weird new world of grand-parenting. People often joke that the best bit is being able to give the Boy Childs back to their parents. Believe me, this is not a joke.
Although it is always a joy to have our home trashed before our eyes in a matter of seconds, there is something deeply satisfying in being able to hand the whirlwinds of doom back after a session of destruction. It is payback time for all those years of teenage angst.
Meanwhile, I left the cut and thrust world of Her Majesty’s Press and was taken to the bosom of the National Health Service to become a spin doctor. My late mum would have been very proud. She always wanted me get a ‘proper job’, preferably in the medical profession.
Alas, my deep dislike of blood and the inability to fathom out anything remotely scientific swiftly put paid to those ambitions.
The NHS is a completely different world with its own unique vocabulary. Everything comes in initials. There are AQPs, CCGs, MIUs, AOs * and the all-pervasive CQUIN (pronounced sequin) which stands for Commissioning for Quality and Innovation.
I don’t think anyone actually understands what it means although we all knew if we didn’t get it, it was very bad news and cash would be stopped.
There were strange phases I had never encountered before. Bed-blocking (when medically fit patients can’t be sent home because there is no one to look after them) became “delayed discharges” – which always put me in mind of a lazy, seeping wound.
At one stage I thought I’d introduce a new game called Banned Words Bingo to encourage staff to talk in plain English. It didn’t work. They still have “dialogues” instead of talking and refer to important information as “key” – when everyone knows that is a thing to open a door.
I was introduced to a man called Mr Caldicott, who turned out to be my guardian, and I was allowed to walk down “care pathways”. Mrs Nurden knows all about this having worked in the NHS most of her life.
For the first time in nearly 40 years we were able to understand each other. Although no other family members could comprehend what we were saying. Perhaps that’s why the health service has so many acronyms – to keep us all in the dark?
• Any Qualified Provider, Clinical Commissioning Group, Minor Injury Unit, Accountable Officer,
First published in the Faversham News, Herne Bay Gazette, Kentish Gazette and Whitstable Gazette – January 2017