I was caught in a tricky situation yesterday, somewhat off guard. It stemmed from a piece of joint working with another team and a situation that has been deteriorating for a particular service user over a period of a few months.

A proposed course of action was mooted and I was asked to help implement it, however, I had already been ploughing along a different path.

It put my nose out of joint at first. When there is an assumption of working together, being suddenly told to do something was somewhat galling  but what riled me more was that I felt that action proposed was not proportionate to the risk present.

The discussion went along the lines of

Other person: I don’t want my neck on the line if anything happens to X

Me (a little grumpily to be honest): OK, well, let’s say it’s my head on the line then.

Other person: Make sure you document that because I am.

So there you go. I have to say I am now much more nervous about this particular individual than I was this time yesterday – and honestly, I don’t think my neck IS on the line, for the record  – having, of course, discussed the situation in depth with more senior managers who are in agreement with me.

I just was interested in the way that the situation was presented – to me, in indicated an attitude to risk and more importantly risk aversion – and planning a longer term permanent placement  (in the ‘right’ home) as opposed to making an emergency placement (in any available home with a bed).

There are risks of course, and risks that have increased with the cold weather – but I take risks and we all take risks. It does take a completely different angle when the person in question lacks capacity and decisions need to be made on their behalf.

I just had the feeling in this situation that there had been a reaction to risks that had been possibly disproportionate.

And while I am absolutely confident that the risk present now is, in the short term at least, manageable, it’s added a whole load of new worry into my head … what if this happens, or that happens, or something else ..

But it was interesting seeing the balances of risk management and risk aversion playing out in a ‘real’ sense – too often and for all the right reasons, there are usually similar assessments within our team so to have been placed by someone with such a different view of the situation was interesting.

As for me, I’m just hoping that things to turn out as I hope they will – but if they don’t, at the very least I can record and explain the reasons that I took the action that I did and made the decisions that I did.

8 thoughts on “Risk

  1. Working in a hospital setting, it seems that everyone is out to negate the risk to people. I find similar situations happening all of the time. Things get a little adversarial. Doctors can sometimes feel (when they actually read our documentation) that our notes have opened up some level of risk for them and vice versa.

  2. Yeah, that’s pretty much it. I just was really surprised it was being perceived in such a different way than I had seen it.

  3. This is a vital LESSON learned, if it wasn’t obvious before??? anyway?

    Vulnerable, sick people not jsut elderly, but mostly elderly with ‘means’ are pawns in the ‘capacity/risk’ culture in the LA’s/NHS, excuses used to ‘meet targets’ & abrogate responsibility for the correct service NEEDS of a service user who was probably classed as a ‘bedblocker’ not a human being.

    Welcome to ‘our world’ where risk aversion, funding/financial constrainsts, performance related pay! & where only (as you highlighted cb), someone’s ‘opinion/interpretation’ fuelled by their own ‘heirarchy of needs’ is their only ‘motivation’.

    Then sit back and ‘HOPE’!! that nothing comes back to bite! But that is ok if it does, cos discretion reigns as always and both ‘authorities have plenty of that vested upon their actions, so acting in the ‘persons# best interests really means acting in my own best interests for an easy life.

    • Thanks for sharing your opinions. I am under no illusions that anything I have to say will not be helpful to you at this point and I’m genuinely sorry for that.

  4. Hi cb,

    I know you know this but I’ll say it anyway (by way of moral support):

    There’s a difference between organisational risk and individual risk. We have to manage the organisational risk but the individual risk is the person’s choice. This is so unless and until they cross one of several legal threshold at which point the state intervenes (via people like you, of course).

    If you reasonably believe that the situation has not crossed that threshol;d then you’re right not to attempt to interfere with the other person’s legal right to take risks.

    After all – without risk we have no quality of life either.

    Sounds like your real problem lies with the colleague and not so much with the situation at hand.



  5. Once again, another example of the caring services in the media today, how could it happen will be the cry as usual,
    Where does the real risk problem lie with this one, organisational or individual?
    GP, DN, SS??? Charities?? Neighbours, relatives!!??

    DOLs, best interests, amaxing how some area’s would have marched in and taken over using their legal unilateral powersand others do nothing?

    doing nothing is always on the SWOT list though!

    Inquiry into the death of couple:-


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