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a blog by Chris Barrow

A certain uncertainty

After storms and snow, the sound of knees jerking over the weekend as my client's WhatsApp Group focuses on the answer to two burning (and one simmering) questions arising from the Omicron variant news:

  1. What do we do about the new SOPs?

  2. Should we delay the Christmas party?

Given the mental health issues with which we are all dealing, it may be the answer to the second question that could break the camel's back.

The simmering question is around what to do with those team members who remain unvaccinated and the growing rift between them and their vaccinated colleagues, no doubt a little aggravated by the latest mutation of the virus.

Many commentators have suggested that it isn't the constant change that is causing the most anxiety, as much as the uncertainties about where we are all going and how we are going to get there.

On the SOPs, the consensus from those messaging was to "wait and see" - and now we have heard that the ECDO will be hosting a webinar this Wednesday, that seems to make sense.

The BDA are also banging on the door for clarity on behalf of their members - no doubt other groups will do the same.

Principals who planned to spend Sunday redrafting their SOPs have delayed, went out for a walk in the winter landscape instead and this morning will be advising their teams to carry on as before.

There were quite a few Xmas party deferrals in the thread - I doubt that non-healthcare sectors will follow suit but I can understand the caution in the absence of an in-house event or private dining. The idea of a restaurant or marquee full of festive revellers isn't very attractive if it can close down your business.

New SOP or old SOP? Party or no Party? Vacc or no Vacc?

There's no doubt that your team will want you to LISTEN to them on these subjects and it is very important that you plan the time to do that.

As owners, managers and healthcare providers, Monday morning is once more an opportunity for you to show leadership - don't miss it.

Reassure your team and your patients that your priority is safety, when all that we seem to be certain of at the moment is uncertainty.

Yes - this all throws many issues back in the air - not the least of which will be NHS thresholds, waiting lists of angry patients and exhausted employees.

I find myself once more this morning asking you to be "the beacon of light" over the days ahead.

Be calm, be confident that you will survive and, most of all, be kind.

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