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Date: December 2021

Our retiring Health and Care Adviser, Chris Brothwood briefly reflects on his 5 years at Medequip

Chris Brothwood

People often make a big thing about what sort of organisation they work in. In Health and Social Care, whether you are a purchaser or provider, public, private or voluntary sector can mean a lot to us.

So, after 35 years in the public sector, I joined a private sector provider, the often-labelled 'dark side' and guess what, they asked, how come you have left the dark side to join us?

This may be a challenging place for some, however, not for me as my career path was the ideal preparation. I had managed wide ranging services within the public sector, mostly around Rehabilitation and Disability, so unusually was practised in partnership working with the private sector and with the commissioning of services. It helped that I already knew this industry well but the main appeal for me was the company's clear ethos on service provision and passion to keep people independent for longer along with a desire to work in partnership with health and social care.

This Advisor role began as a 3-month mutual trial and has lasted nearly 5 years so we must have mutually thought it to be a good fit. Naturally joining any new organisation on a trial basis, has challenges and I describe it at times like 'a stranger amongst friends' but once you get past any initial level of suspicion of an ex-public sector manager speaking a “different language” being embedded into a well-established senior management team, it is much like any other organisation.

The best analogy by far to describe the any differences is to quote Jo Cox, We are more united and have far more in common with each other, than things that which divides us.

Key for me should you consider a move to either 'dark side' is the willingness to listen, understand and to see matters from different perspectives. Both sectors must not only understand each other but accept the behaviours that are governed by the different pressures they encounter. A good sense of humour also helps!

My goal was to have and to leave a positive impact on the business. The role demanded an open, honest approach that sometimes led to some bemusement as we started to understand different viewpoints but overall, what was more important was the conversation, that others will judge as leading to positive change.

So, should others consider opportunities on the dark side should they arise? My answer in a final Star Wars quote is *The Force, it's calling to you. Just let it in.

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