Chris Witham

Weeknotes s01e19

Posted by: Chris Witham - Posted on:

TL:DR; What a packed week. How not to do Mental Health Awareness Week!

[week ending: 14/05/2021]

The good

I did some proper development work this week! With Tony from my team on secondment, we’re a bit light on developers and so I pitched in reviewing pull requests and putting together a release candidate for our open source NHS WordPress theme. It’s been a while and I had to remind myself how to manage merge conflicts but it was a great sense of achievement. We’ll be releasing an updated version next week hopefully and then we’re planning a major release to bring in the latest version 5 updates of the NHS Frontend Library.

It was Gloucestershire Health and Care’s Council of Governors this week. It was really great to meet up with all my fellow governors and we had a really productive meeting. It was great to see Paul and Ingrid able to get out and visit some of our locations and governors are looking forward to being able to do service visits in the near future. Our new holding to account presentations seem to be working well. It was great to get an insight into the work of our Quality Committee this month and especially see how they work to ensure there are no blind spots within our data and monitoring.

I had a really good chat with Nick in our 1:1 this week and we paired up later in the week to do some problem solving on one of our sites. It’s always amazing what a difference a second set of eyes can have on an issue. I really enjoy working with other developers and it’s great to still be able to do this while we’re remote. I think it’s also valuable for managers and product owners to spend time working alongside developers and understanding the process and challenges they face.

At Cinderford Town Council, we launched our bid for the Government’s Levelling Up Fund. This builds on our bid and programme development for the Future High Street Fund last year and would see major investment across the Forest of Dean. I’m very excited for what we’re planning to deliver and the benfits it will have for our local communities. I’ve also been progressing the next stages of our work to deliver the new forest hospital in Cinderford.

If I didn’t have enough stuff going on this week, I was also re-elected as Churchwarden of St Stephen’s Church this week. I attended a really good safeguarding training session on Wednesday evening and throughout the week, major DIY has continued at pace in the evenings. I also had a trial of contact lenses and I’m hoping the days of mask and foggy glasses are behind me.

Close up of bluebells in a field. The sky is cloudy and the whole field looks blue because there are so many bluebells.
A field of bluebells from one of my trips into nature for Mental Health Awareness Week. 12.9 miles walked this week.

The bad

There was some unrest in Cinderford on Saturday night leading to some people being injured. Thankfully Gloucestershire Police responded quickly. I sat down with our Community Policing Team and fellow councillors on Tuesday evening and discussed how we could work together to prevent further escalation. I was very impressed with the action plan the Police had put in place. I’m hoping I might get to meet the mounted Police on their patrols this weekend.

I’m seeing lots of tweets about Kettering General people starting up weeknotes and writing lots of exciting things. I’ve not had chance to read any of them yet so hoping to catchup a bit over the weekend.

After a thread on Twitter, Kat invited me to the EU Staff Network this week. That wasn’t the bad part, they’re a really friendly and welcoming group. Some of our EU colleagues are having really terrible experiences of applying for EU Settled Status and there are concerns about the approaching deadline to apply and what will happen if there isn’t enough capacity to process all the applications swiftly. We talked about ways we might be able to reach out to colleagues who need support and different support that could be offered whether loaning devices (the application can only be made online) or through a process walk through. I reached out to my Rosalind Franklin Impact Group and it was great to see some NHS organisations are doing a really great job of supporting their EU staff. I think there is a huge risk that many of our colleagues across the NHS who work hard to care for our loved ones will be forced to leave the UK despite many years service. If you have a colleague from the EU, please check in and see if they need any support applying for settled status.

The ugly

A couple of days this week, my diary has got completely out of hand. I spent 14 hours on video calls on Wednesday. I need to get back into my good habit of pruning and prioritising my diary on a Friday night for the week ahead. I’m also taking a few days off next week to create some balance and to have some more time for DIY away from a computer screen.

Noteable conversations

  • Talking to our EU Staff Network really educated me this week.
  • Andy and I had a good chat about open source projects and the work required to maintain them long term.

Things I’m reading and watching

  • How to create a podcast – The GCS have written a very imformative and practical article about starting a podcast. We’ve been trying different approaches to using audio for our development programmes and I think it’ll become a very popular format going forwards.

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