The Needs Of The Many
"As I'm sure you can see, it's for the best". He smiled at me, the most fake smile I've ever seen in my life. Even worse than the really patronising ones that Charlie Fairhead delivers when he thinks he's scored a point against me.
"For the best?" I queried. I can't say I understood. It sounded an awful lot as if he'd called me to his office to sack me. Oh, sorry, not sacking, 're-evaluating my contribution to the Trust' I believe he called it.
"Well yes, Mr Robinson, Dan, may I call you Dan?" He was trying to cosy up to me by being on first name terms, very bad sign.
"It is my name", I replied with an equally forced grin, "So where would this re-evaluation take me exactly?"
I've always maintained a pride in my work and I couldn't work out just what I had done to deserve this re-evaluation. Wherever it was I was being shuffled off to was obviously that important that he couldn't even recall it.
"You'll be heading up the Holby Healthcare Trust's new Geriatric Support Service if you accept the position". He said proudly. He handed the sheet of paper over to me and I read it quickly.
"I'll be in charge of meals-on-wheels?" He can't be serious.
"No! Not exactly anyway. It's a very important managerial position Dan…" He said hastily.
"And Critical Care Manager isn't?" I think that wrong footed him slightly. Score one to me!
"Wer…er... well, of course it is…" he stammered.
"That is the job I've been trained for, that I've been doing for the last year quite successfully as a matter of fact".
"Ah, yes, well…"
"Well?" I prompted as he started to flush. I had him on the run now. No one tries to side line me for no reason.
"The Board of Trustees, feel quite strongly that after the… um, unfortunate Harvey incident some changes need to be made."
The unfortunate incident? Doesn't he have any idea what happened? But he was right that changes need to be made, nothing like that must ever be allowed to happen again.
"What?" I said.
"It made it into all the papers Dan. The press had a field day. You know what they're like over NHS scandals!" he scrunched up his nose as he said 'press' in a clear sign of distaste.
"I know there was a lot of publicity. We all had to fight through crowds of photographers just to get to work, but I don't see what that has to do with me." I tried my best to keep my voice steady as I spoke. Antagonising him wouldn't help matters.
"You're the Critical Care Manager Dan. Your responsibility in this hospital stretches over ITU and A&E. Tom Harvey worked primarily in those two departments..." he trailed off as though the rest was blatantly obvious. Unfortunately, I knew exactly what he was getting at.
"So what happened is my fault somehow!?"
"Of course we don't think that" He laughed uncomfortably. I fixed him with a stare and he shut up.
"Of course not. So what do you think?" He shuffled awkwardly. Clearly he didn't think I'd be this much trouble.
"The public, whom we all serve, have shown a good deal of wariness about the hospital. They don't seem to trust us very much; we have to be seen to be changing the way the departments are run. We have to restore faith in the service".
"And relocating me will do that, will it?" It certainly sounded like they'd come to their decision, but I wasn't standing by and letting them get away with it.
"The Trustees think that a change in management will help, yes. A new broom sweeps cleanest and all that". Clichés, how very reassuring.
"Tom Harvey was a doctor at this hospital before I was instated her. I have never had control over the hiring and firing of surgeons anyway. I will not let you blame me!" If could have got away with hitting him I would and I'm not generally a violent person.
I know perfectly well what Tom Harvey was like. He drugged me, broke my arm. I saw what he did to Holly and I know that he was responsible for Andrew Bower's death too. He was a maniac, and they're trying to make me responsible for him.
"Blame is a very strong word Dan, and one that no one is using about you…"
"So you don't blame me, you're just trying to pass the buck!" I countered.
"No. We aren't doing any such thing, please calm down and discuss this rationally". I am calm, I am calm, I am calm.
"I am good at my job". I said forcefully.
"Indeed. Which is why we're offering you this new position". So they can get rid of me. I won't stand for that.
"And if I don't accept?"
"Ah. We were rather hoping you would; there is a pay incentive. Dan, I don't think you realise the importance of the situation. The Trust is a business; we rely on patients being confident that here in this hospital they'll receive the very best care. Tom Harvey has undermined that confidence. It's a shame what happened, but I'm afraid we're faced now with damage limitation. Lives will be in danger if people refuse to be treated here. The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few." His little lecture over he stood arms crossed and stared at me smugly.
"I'm the few, I take it. Well in that case, you can take your job and shove it where the sun doesn't shine. I was trained as a nurse, I was told to treat my patients as individuals and with compassion. This Trust seems wholly incapable of seeing anything other than next year's budget figures and league tables. I don't want to work here any longer. I'll have my resignation letter ready by morning." I know deep down that I'd just solved their little problem for them but it was a matter of principal.
I've spent my time in Holby being fought with by the shop floor staff, and picked on by the executives. I'm sick of it and I'm not going to take it anymore. I didn't wait for a reaction; I just turned and left.
I had to walk through the casualty department to get out of the hospital. I don't fool myself that I'm a friend with anyone there. Maybe if they didn't see me as the enemy all the time I could be, but the 'us and them' mentality runs deep. Why they can't see that I'm just trying to run the department in the most efficient way possible is beyond me. I'm permanently outnumbered on both sides.
I saw out of the corner of my eye Charlie striding toward me, wearing his determined expression.
"Dan! There's a major RTA on route and we're already packed to the rafters. Perhaps you could work out exactly what we're supposed to do with the patients waiting for beds before you go home?" I could see him puff out his chest the way he does when he's ready to start a (terribly civilised) fight about something.
Well, it's not my problem anymore. It's a problem for those few who remain in their ivory tower, lording it over the many below. Which gave me an idea…
"Actually Charlie, why don't you open up the old observation ward". He looked at me as though I'd just confessed to being a Martian on my mother's side.
"Well, yes, I'll do that then" He blustered, confused. I couldn't help smiling at the look on his face; it was hilarious! Though probably not as hilarious as the look on the chief exec's face when he finds out what Charlie's done. Pity I'm going to miss that one.
"Sure it'll put a few noses out of joint," I called out as I turned and headed towards the door, "but after all, the needs of the many, that's what's most important!"