I’m Julian and I'm really pleased that you've chosen to download and listen to this episode. Or maybe you haven't downloaded it.
Maybe you’re streaming it directly.
Whichever way you’re listening, I really appreciate you taking the time to listen to little 'ol me!
If you're new here, then welcome to the Productivity Matters podcast.
On this episode, I’m going to take a look at the NHS, setting personal goals and, of course, my Podcast of the Week…
Are you ready?
The National Health Service
It’s been a bit of roller-coaster time lately. I recently changed jobs, moving from the excitement of working at MediaCity, to the not so exciting NHS (that’s the National Health Service, for those of you outside of the UK).
The NHS is a huge, unwieldy beast of an organisation, responsible for health and social care for millions of people, throughout the UK. Just to give you an example, during 2017/2018, there were over 23 million visits to the Accident & Emergency departments. And it’s completely free at the point of use.
This normally means that anyone registered with the system, available to legal UK residents regardless of nationality, can access the full breadth of critical and non-critical medical care, without payment. There are some exceptions such as eye-care, dentistry and prescriptions, but these are heavily subsidised, so are cheaper than private providers.
It started 70 years ago, in 1948, and now employees around 1.2 million people.
Approx 80% of the NHS in England is funded through general taxation and National Insurance contributions, which are made by employees, employers and the self-employed.
A much smaller proportion is collected through patient charges, as I mentioned, for things like prescriptions and dentistry.
To put these numbers into perspective, the total cost for running the NHS in 2017/18 was £125 billion…. equivalent to about $163 billion!
The proportion collected through the National Insurance contributions accounted for £24 billion - about 20% of the total cost.
In Scotland, Ireland and Wales, the health service is a devolved matter, so those governments can decide how much to spend on health, from the block grant that they receive from central government. One important difference is that they do not charge for prescriptions - so patient care is completely free.
Whilst the NHS is a much derided organisation - there are many people who complain about many aspects including lengthy waiting times for consultations and surgery, lack of beds in hospitals, and closures of clinics around the country.
As with all taxation and government spending, it’s a very hot topic, and one that I’m neither inclined, nor qualified, to talk about in any detail. Like most people I have my own opinions and it’s my personal belief that without the NHS, the country would be in a much poorer state. Maybe that’s because I have had many personal interactions with them, over the years, and I’ve never had cause for complaint. Much the reverse actually.
Episode 9 of this season, at the end of January, I published an episode about my experience with Diabetes (link in the show notes) and the care I’ve received has been second to none.
When my dad was very ill, they pulled out all the stops to save him; literally transferring him, in an ambulance, about 200 miles, to another hospital, for a life-saving operation.
This doesn’t take away the very real issues that are affecting the NHS - doctors and nurses are under increasing pressure, and it’s more than a regular occurrence that routine operations are postponed due to the lack of beds being available.
However, if we only had private care available, then the state of health and wellbeing in the UK would be in a very grave situation - pardon the pun!!
So, why have I given you this basic insight into the NHS? Do you know something? I don’t really know… just wanted to share a little background on one of the largest institutions in the UK.
The small part I play is within NHS Digital - the national information and technology partner to the health and social care system. They’re working, through technology, to help transform the NHS.
It’s important, when going through tough times that we remain positive.
Don’t focus on what you don’t have. Don’t focus on what you wish you had.
Focus on what you DO have.
Of course, you want things, and having targets and goals are all credible things to set yourself. Indeed, without them you’ll be stuck in a rut.
It’s important to review goals.
Without goals you lack focus and direction. Goal setting not only allows you to take control of your life's direction; it also provides you a way of checking whether you are actually succeeding.
When you start your goal setting process, you need to start with careful consideration of what you actually want to achieve.
It’s important to also remember that goal setting is an ongoing activity. You don't just set a goal and forget about it.
Life happens and sometimes you need to review the goals. Remember to keep checking that you're on track, and make regular time-slots available to review your goals.
It’s very important that you're motivated by your goals. They must be important to you, and you need to know that there is a value in achieving them.
What are your priorities in life? Set goals that relate to them. If you’re not careful, you could end up with too many goals; which means spreading yourself too thin and unable to achieve them.
Make sure there is a sense of urgency around achieving your goals. Not so much a 'can do' attitude, more of a 'I must do this' attitude.
Your final goal may not change, but the plan you have put in place to achieve it could change quite significantly, which is why it’s important to have review sessions with yourself.
Stay focussed and take the bull by the horns. That’s a strange saying isn’t it? Why would anyone do that?
Why would you grab the bull by the horns? I’ll tell you why. It’s because it is dangerous.
It means doing something difficult in a brave and determined way.
So, that’s what I’m going to do.
Review my goals and aim high.
Podcast Of The Week
Right. It’s that time again. It’s time for Podcast Of The Week
This time it’s Married On The Mic…. a weekly podcast from a couple who describes themselves as "A fun podcast about real marriage. Hosted by radio personality Dana McKay and her husband Rick.”
I first came across these two a couple of weeks ago, when Dana actually commented on one of my recent Instagram posts, if I was one of the 50 podcasts that I had subscribed to? I replied that it is now, and I’ve listened ever since.
Each episode cover a range of subjects, from double-dating to unemployment and from bed-hogging to professional cuddlers, gym updates and snoring. They’re such a great team together, and I’m looking forward to the next episode.
That’s Married On The Mic, with Dana and Rick…. give them a listen.
Great. Well, that’s it. I hope you’ve found this episode interesting.
Feel free to contact me about anything I’ve talked about, and if you want to be featured as my Podcast of the Week, then also please get in touch. You can do so via the Contact Me button at the top of the page.
Details are in the show notes.
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Thank you very much for listening and, until next time remember, Productivity Matters.
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