Monthly Archives: November 2014

Have you heard a lioness roar?

Have you ever seen footage of a lioness roar? It is amazing and the male lion  and  other animals cant turn away, cant think of anything else until she stops. The lioness roars as a threat, to clear the path, as a warning, when her cubs are in danger and when she is grieving.

I have thought a lot lately about social media and how it  has the potential to change health care delivery and management. Today NHS England launches it plans to bring everyone’s notes to a smart phone app.

I have also thought about how the NHS is not appreciating the significance and potential of social media and assistive technologies to engage the patients, carers and public and to improve care. I have also thought abut how it is already being used by activists to change things. That has taken me to thinking about Sara.

@Sarasiobhan has been to me like a lioness  since the death of her lovely dude son. I don’t know Sara personally but I know many people who have been supporting her and I have watched her, listened to her and engaged with her on twitter.

Her roars have been loud and constant at times, difficult to hear but unable to walk away from or ignore.  She has roared very loudly and frequently via twitter. All the kingdom, at every level has heard her roars as she has not politely engaged. Instead she has roared like a lioness would roar following the rules of the jungle not structured by rigid hierarchy. Monitor and CQC, the media and many learning disability improvement bodies have heard her roar and responded to her calls.

Some days the pain of her roar cuts through me. Some people tell me they cant bear it, they feel uncomfortable. Well I guess that’s how a gazelle must feel!

The anger, the hurt, the sense of lose and the total sense of injustice that the loss of her cub could have been avoided if others watched over him like she did.

Some days I have been overcome with the pain I could hear and see in her tweets that brought me to tears. To a dark place where I think of my kids and how on earth I would cope if I lost one of them. On those days all I could do was retweet her, so her roar got louder but I could not engage. Other days I talked to her and joined her campaign.

What is amazing about Sara roar is so many have listened and responded that it is changing the world. she roared via social media and we now see and feel the power of activating social media to campaign in health. Many have joined the @JusticeforLB campaign, fund raising for legal fees, blogging, advising. Even I wrote a blog (as a I know a bit about NHS boards and governance).

I have never met her, one day I hope to . I only know from what I have read or listened to on the radio but I couldn’t ignore that roar. Many others have done the same and last week the bill was launched. This week she meets the amazing and committed @Normanlamb. To discuss taking a bill to the floor of the House of Commons. WOW now that’s the power of a lioness roaring!

Her roar has changed social media in health, we now know that people can engage with the hierarchy in many ways, at all times and its no longer 9 – 5 and controlled by the institution! It has the potential to write and to change law too. It shows us as leaders we cannot rely on the old ways and traditional planned communication or public engagement.

We leaders need to work differently now: to listen out for the roar and we need to respond to the roar. This requires a different sort of leadership. Humble, listening, compassionate, proactive, flexible. Expecting to get it wrong but working with our patients and their families to put it right the way they want it. More fancy words would be saying candour, compassion, integrity and accountability.

We can never bring the dude back but her roar can ensure other dudes have a better life, a life they control despite what disables then. Most of all so they don’t end up in uncaring remote institutions.

Read the bill please, respond to lioness as she roars

And Sara keep roaring it is starting to change the jungle