Merry xmas 2014!
My name is Dr Shibley Rahman.
Some of you will know of my existence from Twitter or Facebook.
You may have even met me in real life.
I would like just a few minutes of your time.
I’ve always felt that anything can happen to anybody at any time.
And my heart goes out to you if you can think of things which brought you particular sadness this year.
I entered a coma in 2007 due to bacterial meningitis.
I had been resuscitated from a cardiac arrest by the emergency on-call at the Royal Free Hospital.
From that experience, I became physically disabled.
But it is true that I owe my life to the NHS.
I had been an alcoholic.
I have now not touched a drop from alcohol for seven years.
I am now back being regulated by the General Medical Council (GMC).
I in fact went to Manchester several times for this purpose this year.
I’d like to thank Martin Rathfelder for looking after me then during this anxious time for me.
It was nice to be recognised by a Twitter follower in fact – that has never happened to me before!
Hello to Kylie.
I tell London cabbies all the time, that it’s not how you fall.
It’s how you get up again.
I am also regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.
I have told friends in private that being back on the Medical Register is the biggest honour of my life.
I love the medical profession.
I welcome the publication of the independent report of unexpected deaths of Doctors awaiting Fitness to Practice outcomes.
I know myself of two Doctors who died during this painful period.
I am aghast how little attention there has been to this in the mainstream press.
But I am not altogether surprised.
I would nonetheless go onto happier things for me.
Having completed my pre-solicitor training last year at BPP Law School here in London, I have been asked to be a member of the Board of Governors for the BPP Students Association.
This is a real honour for me.
Next year, BPP will be participating in the National Students Survey.
It will be valuable for us, I feel, to treat this as a learning exercise.
I believe feedback is important for any organisation that wants to learn.
I have no doubt, though, BPP will shine in the process.
I love the legal profession.
I have been dismayed about the murder of legal aid and the fact the barristers were completely exasperated at the way they have been treated.
I had tea with Prof Gary Slapper twice, putting the world to rights, on subjects ranging from conflicts of interest to conspiracy theories.
This year has also seen me reconnect with dementia as well as the medical profession.
I am particularly grateful for the clinical lead given by Twitter pal, Prof Alistair Burns.
I did my Ph.D. in dementia at Cambridge under Prof John Hodges.
I later then did my junior medical job at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, under Prof Martin Rossor.
I both have the utmost of respect of them.
This year has seen a volte face with me and conferences to do with dementia.
At the beginning of the year, I was resolutely against attending conferences.
For me, they had become synonymous with people selling things.
Nonetheless, I’ve had a wonderful time, being invited to various conferences.
I loved “The Alzheimer’s Show”, both in London and in Manchester.
I went to Copenhagen later this year for the Alzheimer’s Association conference.
In Copenhagen, I had a long chat with Martin Rossor.
I was actually in Copenhagen at a book stand.
I have had good feedback about my book, “Living well with dementia”.
This was published by Radcliffe Health in January 2014.
At its peak, it reached number 3 on Amazon even.
This, rather than being a slogan, is the name of the 2009 English dementia strategy, co-authored by Prof Sube Banerjee.
I met Sube twice this year in fact; once having been invited by Lisa Rodrigues down to his inaugural lecture as Professor of Dementia at Brighton and Sussex Medical School.
And secondly at the Dementia Action Alliance conference the other day at Westminster in the Methodist Central Hall.
That was the same venue as where I did my written exam for the diploma of the Membership of the Royal College of Physicians in 2004.
I passed that.
It’s the same venue as my graduation ceremony for my Master of Law.
I passed that too.
It’s the same place where Clem Attlee organised a rally after winning the General Election of 1945 by a landslide.
For that election, a different man had asked ‘to finish the job’.
His name was Winston Churchill.
The Methodist Central Hall’s also the same venue where I met Andy Burnham for the first time ever.
I had the pleasure of meeting Andy this year at a local meeting of Labour down in Southwark.
My good friend, Jos Bell, invited me.
I think “whole person care” will be pivotal in integrating health and care when it is finally introduced by the Labour government.
Health and care services are fundamentally dependent on each other.
When one is in chaos, the other quickly feels the effects.
NHS and care are not simply ‘political footballs’.
They’re literally a matter of life or death.
Tom Flynn was there too: he’s a friend of mine, and of Jos.
Tom knows Jos Bell, who has become a very good friend of mine this year.
Jos I feel really understands what I feel about stuff.
I met Chris Roberts and Jayne Goodrick in Manchester.
Since then, I’d like to say we’ve become good friends.
Indeed, I then met Chris and Jayne at the Alzheimer’s Europe conference in Glasgow.
That conference was on dignity and autonomy.
I was generally impressed by all the people working in dementia policy in Scotland.
I learnt loads from them.
We’ve moved a long way from tokenism, I hope.
We’ve moved onto a more rights-based approach, advanced by equality and human rights.
Through this legal lens, I hope we may move aspirational friendliness into enforceable parity.
That conference in Glasgow was very special for me, where I met Helga Rohra and Agnes (and Donna) for the first time.
It is also where I was born in 1974.
In the space of that time, I feel as if I’ve been dragged through a hedge backwards.
But when I look at people I admire, like Clare Lally, also from Glasgow, I feel humble.
I met Tommy Whitelaw in the clinical research day at Glasgow for the first time this year.
When you meet truly magnificent people, any achievements you have get totally dwarfed.
Somebody who totally dwarfs me is Kate Swaffer.
It’s not that Kate remembered my birthday.
Nor the fact she has taught me the majority of what I know about dementia policy.
Nor is it the fact that she got a Distinction in her Masters of Science in dementia care at Wollongong last week.
It’s much more than that.
I hope to be seeing Tru, Chris, Jayne, Kate, Pete and Boris next year around time of the Alzheimer’s Disease International conference in Perth, Australia.
I am on the international advisory board for that.
I reviewed about 50-60 posters for that conference.
They were all of a superb standard.
Next year, my trip to Oz will come just before my next book, ‘Living better with dementia’.
Chris Roberts suggested the title.
And Prof Alistair Burns is doing the main Foreword.
I am honoured at this.
And the fact that Jessica Kingsley Publishers are publishing my book.
So I’ll leave it there.
This year wasn’t too bad for me.
I only blocked a handful of people on Twitter.
Conversely, there are some brilliant people on Twitter whom I have met in real life.
Jenni Middleton, editor of Nursing Times.
Mandi and Alex Andreou, Spurs supporters.
Comrade Nick Cohen.
I find ‘round robins’ telling me how wonderful people are at Christmas quite annoying.
But I wanted to thank you for your friendship and most of all how much you’ve taught me.