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What on earth is a “Director of Lived Experience”?

A nurse on the picket line last week. Richard Baker/In Pictures/Getty

Surfing the internet in search of an “easy new career to see me into my dribbling senescence”, says Rod Liddle in The Sunday Times, I chanced across a wonderful opportunity: “Director of Lived Experience” for the NHS in the Midlands. I have 62 years of lived experience – “I could hardly have dead experience, could I?” – so I should be a shoo-in. And it’s obvious from the job description that nobody involved has “the remotest clue” what the role should entail. It’s terribly important to “bring the experiential lens to Trust Board decision-making”, apparently, and “facilitate the cultural changes needed to infuse and propagate best practice”. Sure, I can do that, “even though I don’t know what it actually means”.

Better yet, besides appearing to require “no qualifications whatsoever”, it pays £115,000 a year. “That’s what I call decent whack.” Poor old nurses, “emptying those catheters and rubbing liniment into an octogenarian’s nutsack” for negligible wages, are being “taken for mugs”. There are loads of “lived experience” jobs up for grabs in the NHS, including “trainee lived experience assistants (nope, not kidding)”. All these roles pay a hell of a lot more than nurses get, “no qualifications necessary”. Which is to say nothing of the various heads of “diversity” – the grandest of which has a salary “not far short of double the prime minister’s”. Given all this, I can totally understand why nurses are so “livid”. As the Sex Pistols singer John Lydon memorably put it: “Ever get the feeling you’ve been cheated?”

👩‍⚕️💰 Ministers know they’re going to have to “up their offer” to nurses, says Matthew Parris in The Times. The NHS is “critically short of nursing staff” because it’s a tough job that doesn’t pay well. That’s the crucial difference between these and other strikes – the railways, for example, have no problem recruiting people because it’s relatively well-paid work. “First, beat the rail unions; after that, invite the nurses back to the table.”