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Light side: White-feather warning, Volunteering manifesto, Historical throwback

White feather warning
Trust managers be warned: if you are in NHS Improvement chief executive Jim Mackey’s crosshairs you could soon be confronted by angry folk wielding white feathers.

The boss of the organisation, successor to several separate bodies including Monitor and the NHS Trust Development Authority, is deep in the process of whipping Trusts into signing up to spending plans in a bid to cut the massive deficits reported over recent years.

Mackey branded those Trust managers unwilling to sign up “conscientious objectors,” although he added that they “don’t need to worry about me – they need to worry about how they look their colleagues in the face who are trying really hard next door.”

Light Side is sure that he was merely using a turn of phrase to illustrate his point, but Trust bosses with a feather allergy may wish to stock up on anti-histamines – just in case.

Volunteering manifesto
The brave new world (or should that be Victorian era) of NHS volunteering has arrived in earnest, with NHS Employers releasing a 10-page document promoting their recruitment.

Cash-strapped “Trusts have been engaging their volunteers in more specialised areas such as theatres, accident and emergency and maternity units,” it explains.

Volunteers, whose personal commitment should of course be applauded, are already carrying out dozens of duties including on wards and A&E departments, although happily clinical work does not appear on the list of roles.

Then again, given the extra hours and skipped breaks our members report, doctors may feel they deserved at least an honorary mention.

Historical throwback
Just when you thought the historical comparisons were over along comes another one, this time via think tank Civitas.

And it’s nothing to do with WWI or Victorian-era volunteering – no, their latest proposal is based on “values” that go even further back in time.

The big idea of the big brains behind the organisation is to force doctors to pay out up to £150,000 in training bills if they leave the NHS too early.

We all want to see retention levels rise, but is the return of indentured servitude really the way to go about it?