I want to talk to you about power, because power is something we often pretend is not there but it's an important part of what we do. A patient walking into your clinic will be concerned about something in their life, something they may not understand about themselves. Therefore they hand you some power, some of their power and determination over their life. They trust to your expertise to help them thrive and survive.
The medical profession has not always been as good as it could be in dealing with this.
At this stage let me say I have no problems exercising power, every day as a foster carer I use the children's act or the education act or human rights act to get things done for the young people whose best interests I try to serve.
But at the back of my mind is another time where power got used on me. Here I want to express some sympathy for the coach driver who was involved in a fatal crash in France this weekend. I have been involved in something very similar, I know what will have happened to him once he got inside a French Police station, it won't have been pretty it won't have been nice. Our PACE will have figured not at all.
I arrived back in the UK in need of a bit of help so I went to find it. I had a pretty good idea what I needed too, the medic decided for me that what I thought I needed wasn't relevant, I needed Diazepan.
Now, let me say that was a good call, within a few hours I was pretty sure I was a donkey and that my name was Borris. Had I carried on I would probably have realised I was the mayor of London and made a better job of it too. As for driving a car in that state: it would have taken a lot of beer to make me that dangerous. Something no one thought to mention at the time.
Power is good and power is bad.
In 1949 Max Adorno did some research into how you get people to use power. He concluded it was all in Difference. All you need to do is create a Difference. When people think they are dealing with a different group to them, they will do anything you want them to to these "non me's" The end result of this "othering" was ordinary Germans sending Jews into gas chambers.
But of course Auschwitz was not where it started.
The first gas chambers were built in German hospitals where it wasn't jack booted storm troopers but medical staff who consigned idiots and imbeciles to oblivion.
The first victims of the holocaust were the mentally ill and learning disabled.
No one screamed injustice then and precious few voices speak for them now?
These were clinicians "doing their job". So, every day, when we go into work we need to understand power and use power.
There are no doctors, or nurses or patients or service users
There are only human beings and we invent divisions at our peril.