Every day is an adventure with Harriet

So there I was, at home, having a quick bite to eat before a colleague and I headed into town for a contract meeting. There was a knock at the door and in burst Harriet!

Harriet is in her late 20s and has not long had her first child. She was due for lunch with my wife, and as she bounded into the kitchen, I realised what she was carrying was not a small child, but a puppy. The baby was outside in a buggy, so how she had been able to carry the dog and wheel the buggy at the same time I don’t know. The puppy was put into my garden, at which point it became very excited at our guinea pig hutch, and I had to spring into action to find a temporary lead to tie the dog up with. In the midst of this excitement, Harriet told me the story of how she had rescued this puppy as it ran back and forth lost on a main road near our local park. All the other passers-by watched as this distressed dog ran about, with not a one willing to get involved… other than our Harriet.

What a pain! There was a puppy in my garden (which, of course, took this opportunity to relieve itself), I needed to catch a train, but most important of all, my daughter was due home from infant school in less than 2 hours! She adores dogs and would assume that Christmas had come early. However, as I left the house, having carefully secured the dog, I was not focused on the issue of the dog, but on Harriet! What a wonderful person. She was willing to get involved and attempt to fix a problem when no one else was – even if it did mean a small “deposit” on my lawn. Harriet is a health care professional and I know that if anyone is under her care, she will push through, not serving the system, but the person.

We need Harriets, people willing to go above and beyond. The new Secretary of State of Health Jeremy Hunt recognises this. One of his four priorities is to raise the standard of care. We recognised that we can have good treatment in the UK, but what seems to be lacking is the best care. Now, this cannot be achieved by systems and monitoring etc. Care comes from the person. You cannot show good care simply by going through the motions. So let’s hope there are many more Harriets in health and social care.

About Daniel Singleton

National Executive Director

Daniel Singleton has been the National Executive Director of FaithAction since 2007. This role has seen Daniel forge close working relationships across a number of national government departments, as well as local statutory and voluntary-sector bodies. As part of FaithAction’s mission to connect national and local government with grassroots organisations, Daniel also meets regularly with FaithAction member groups to help them develop in their social action.