I’m one of the staff members at 38 Degrees and I’ve been project managing the patient sponsored GP event this evening. Over 22,000 of us have now chipped in to sponsor this evenings event for senior GPs. And it’s already causing a big stir inside the conference for GP leads sponsored by Capita and United Health today. It’s certainly not going like they wanted it to!
I was outside at 8am this morning – trying to drum up attendance for our event this evening. But most importantly it was a great opportunity to start kicking off the conversation between 38 Degrees members and these important doctors.
Many of the GPs hadn’t heard of 38 Degrees – and it marked the beginning of a new conversation between GPs and patients to protect the future of our NHS. We also got a few emails of senior GPs up and down the country for further opportunities to work together in helping protect the future of the NHS.
When the GPs heard that our event was sponsored and paid for by tens of thousands patients it really made them stop and listen. The contrast between our patient sponsored event and the event sponsored by big corporate money couldn’t be stronger. It was just the message that we wanted to highlight to the doctors attending.
As people started to arrive for the conference sponsored by Capita and United Health, 38 Degrees staff and volunteers handed out cupcakes and smart invitations. The cupcakes were just the thing to break the ice – the tiny little sugar maps with how to get to our event went down well.
The cupcakes had the intended result – key players carried on talking about our presence well into today’s conference. Senior GPs and journalists were busy chatting about it on twitter:
@d_williams_ turned down cake but was offered love+hugs!What an offer!They’re putting on meeting+food after but have to chair practice meet!
— Prof Steve Field (@ProfSteveField) April 24, 2012
— Steve Kell (@SteveKellGP) April 24, 2012
Although most of the attendees did accept the cake!
Before the event started we had a small room just by where the reception for the event sponsored by private health companies was. This gave us a chance to check out what was happening inside.
The conference organisers were certainly ruffled. They wanted us to have banners and speakerphones, and were really caught off guard with our smart invitations and sweet treats. The conference organisers were not best pleased by how many of their attendees stopped to talk to us and accept a cupcake.