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My week as 'the face of the NHS' by Krishna Gohil

My week as ‘the face of the NHS’ by Krishna Gohil

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Diabetes Specialist Podiatrist Krishna Gohil recently took over the reins of the @NHS Twitter account. The account was set up in 2016 by NHS England to provide a platform for people across the NHS to show what they do, in order to highlight the variety of people and roles within the health service. This was the first time a podiatrist had done this and, as Krishna says, it opened a lot of people’s eyes to the important – and varied – work that podiatrists perform.

    

What were the highlights of the week for you? 

“What I most enjoyed about the week was the tremendous amount of support I received from other podiatrists. I put up a Facebook post the week before to let people know I was doing this and even on that I had about 100 responses from people who were just really pleased to see podiatry being celebrated in this way. It felt like podiatry as a whole was really appreciative of this happening and us being able to draw attention to some of the work we do as podiatrists.” 

“On the Twitter account itself I felt there was a really positive feeling about the subjects I was tweeting about. So for example I wanted to use the feed to raise awareness of the #iseethedifference campaign, which the College of Podiatry is running on behalf of four AHPs. Even though the feed is largely aimed at an NHS audience, there were a lot of private podiatrists who responded to it, so it felt like it was really something for all podiatrists, not just those of us working in the NHS. 

“It was also really nice to be able to link up with people I hadn’t been in touch with before. On the Wednesday I was tweeting a lot about the ‘at-risk foot’, which is one of my areas of expertise. I saw that a project in Northern Ireland had won an award for care in this area, so I retweeted it. After this they got back in touch with me and now they are going to follow up with an article for the College of Podiatry, so that’s a really nice outcome and will help them to spread the work about the work they’re doing. I think having the extra profile that the @NHS feed provides means that you can draw attention to things like this, which is really important.”
   

What other topics did you cover on the feed? 

“I wanted to get a lot of information out there about diabetes because it’s a very important issue for me professionally, and for the profession as a whole. It was good to be able to talk about my university study as I spent a day during the week at Coventry University on my non-medical prescribing course. I wanted to talk a bit about the importance of AHPs and it was nice to be able to link up with some other AHPs through the process – like a group of dieticians from Portsmouth. 

“But as well as the various themes we touched on, it was also a good opportunity to have some fun. I’ve been taking ‘#selfeets’ with a friend for a while so I thought that might be nice to share – I definitely think this should catch on as a trend. Plus you may have seen that we did a little bit of posing during my day at the College of Podiatry’s offices – all in the name of supporting podiatry of course.”
    

Did you get any less positive responses to what you were doing? 

“I suppose a flip-side of doing a stint on @NHS is that you can’t necessarily control who will see things and get in touch with you – just as with any kind of social media activity. I was quite aware of that risk during the week, but people were overwhelmingly positive. Probably the most off the wall thing I came across was a guy dressed as a foot!”

What do you think the main messages are from this work? 

“I hope that through doing this I’ve been able to raise more awareness of podiatry and show some non-podiatrists out there about the important work we do. I know that I’ve shown what kind of a career podiatry can offer. One person got in touch to ask if this was a normal week because I’d been doing lots of different things, and I said yes it was. That was always one of the things that appealed to me about podiatry – the idea that you can mix things up a bit, that you don’t have to spend every day in the same place doing the same things. I’m a clinician and I love doing that, but you can do so much more if you want to. I really enjoy the work I do with the College and obviously my study too – though that is quite intense at the moment with an exam coming up.”

The College of Podiatry liaised with the @NHS team in the setting up of the week.