Humane services in difficult times

This is a blog by the authors of Intelligent Kindness: Rehabilitating the Welfare State: John Ballatt, Penelope Campling and Chris Maloney.

Our book was published just before the Covid-19 pandemic. We hope that some of the arguments and ideas explored in the book will offer helpful perspectives as societies, their leaders, and those trying to provide treatment, care and support, grapple with the frightening and complex challenges we all face.

In this Blog we will try to offer condensed posts on some of the concerns and preoccupations arising from the encounter with Covid-19. Like many, we are variously connected with practitioners in various services, as well as leaders and managers, so we have plenty to think about, alongside the daily news. Between us, we have experience of General Practice, Psychiatry, Psychotherapy, Strategic and Service Management and Individual, Team and Organisational Consultancy. We are not epidemiologists, nor experts in the many fields of practice and care, the logistics of supply delivery, or other areas that are so crucial to the response.

We do believe, however, that ways must be found to understand and prioritise the task of leading and supporting people in many roles, especially ‘front line workers’, as living, vulnerable human beings with vital contributions to make. This involves considering the experience of individuals, teams and systems of care, and what is needed to enable them healthily to survive and function well. The success of our society’s response to the virus depends on this as much as any technical skills. We hope we have something helpful to offer to this enterprise.

Some of our posts will address events as they unfold, but most will have themes that we believe require constant attention. We encourage readers to browse. Comments and feedback will be very welcome – to help us think and post, and to build a wider dialogue.