News & blog

The good old days . . .

Rachel Way

Often, I hear my grandfather say that ‘it’s not like it was in my day’ as if that is a good thing. For me that conjures thoughts of world wars, rationing, coal mines, disease, tenements and a serious lack of technology.

However, recently I have been aware of some traditions or services making a bit of a come back and it really has got me thinking about what we can learn from the past and how it can impact the future for the better.

The first was the return of glass milk bottles on doorsteps. I have honestly not seen it in decades (showing my age) but there is a definite increase in families considering this way of buying certain products.

Secondly, I have seen in my own high street a sewing service, a shop where you can take your clothes to be mended or altered. Something I know my grandmother would be pleased to see as an ex-seamstress. She made parachutes in the war and was so handy at giving our clothes a second lease of life.

Tea dances and community groups meeting are becoming a trend and a need in small towns to prevent the loneliness that our elderly so often feel as a result of our ever increasing need to be working and ability to live further and further afield.

Groups of mums crowding a café or pavement as they try to find their place for what can be such a difficult time without the support that they all used to give one another when working mothers was a much rarer thing.

As I plan our conference Caring Places, Building Healthy Communities I stumbled across an article on where one of speakers, Jos de Blok, is quoted to have said “You were the best in the world at primary care but you may need to start rebuilding from basic principles. It’s too much top down at the moment and the structure is immensely complex. How did you let it get so complicated?”

It makes me think of nursing the way it used to be. Whilst there is an awful lot we would not want to go back to, not least because we have better methods now, there is a considerable amount we can learn from the past nursing practices. You only have to watch Call The Midwife to see some of the considerable benefits that can be had.

And this community element and the learning from the past will be a considerable conversational theme, I think, that will weave its way through some of these extremely valuable sessions. If we could combine the small teams of care providers, whether nurse, midwife, carer or even different services like police with awesome technology and simplified processes how much could be achieved, how much better would care be and how much stronger will communities be for the future of us all.