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Keep calm

Keep calm – we can’t carry on

Have we at last come to the end of the fad in which “Keep calm and….” is printed on every conceivable everyday object? Well done the entrepreneur who saw fit to resurrect the old wartime poster onto every mug, tea towel and drinks mat. But it’s time to move on.

 Mind you, the sentiment is arguably as poignant today as it was in 1939 – albeit we’re not exactly facing the might of the Luftwaffe. Keep calm and carry on really is a very British thing to say. It captures what we like to think we are. Stoic. Brave. Resilient in the face of adversity.

 At the time of writing, after three grinding years, we are tantalisingly poised for some sort of resolution to Brexit. (Although, by the time you read this – and possibly even before I’ve completed the requisite few hundred words – we might be back to square one.) We’ve kept calm (sort of) and we’ve definitely carried on. But it’s high time for things to settle down a bit now, please. That certainly seems to be the feeling among of a lot of people I’ve spoken to lately.

 Recent business commitments have meant travelling around the country to engage with people who were not in any way involved in the health or social care sectors. How refreshing it was to chat to hotel owners, linen manufacturers, chocolatiers and mortgage brokers among others – and all outside the bubble that is London. Brexit came up in conversation because it would be hard to talk about business without mentioning it.

So it was interesting that the vast majority of people – most of whom ran their own businesses, and irrespective of whether they were Brexiteers or Remainers, were less fussed about the shape of the resolution, but more they wanted a return to some sort of business stability. It wasn’t as if business was bad – the mortgage people said trade was booming for them and the hoteliers didn’t seem particularly worried by potential currency fluctuations. Everyone was just a bit fed up of carrying on carrying on.

Meanwhile, back in more familiar territory, the Healthcare Excellence through Technology (HETT) and Global Innovation and New Technology (GIANT) events celebrated a dizzying array of digital technologies that are being designed to keep us healthier, and make the NHS more efficient. At the NAPC’s Best Practice conference and awards, the mood was buoyant and business-like. Primary Care Networks, the very embodiment of integrated care provision, have become largely mainstream and people are starting to see real results. The health sector has always had a good record for carrying on in the face of adversity!

So, whatever the result turns out to be tomorrow, people – and business – will largely keep carrying on. But wouldn’t it be nice to be able to breathe a collective sigh of relief and put the B word behind us? Quite how much longer people can remain calm will be sorely tested if not.