Phil Hammond on the ‘Art of Living when you know you’re going to die’

Blog by Jakub Suwala, Associate Marketing Executive, Allocate Software

Blog | Session Review | By Jakub Suwala, Associate Marketing Executive, Allocate Software

The Art of Living

when you know you’re going to die

It’s not often you come across a GP with the amount of energy, humour and wit that the southwest GP, comedian and broadcaster, Phil Hammond possesses. Phil is a family doctor with what could be described as a shamelessly slick bedside manner and a wealth of stories, almost none of which can be repeated in this blog post.

One thing that you need to know about Phil, is that he likes to sail close to the wind – but when he does, it is with a mask of relaxed confidence. His witty and provoking jokes and stories dance on the edge, but never go over it.

‘The Art of Living when you know you’re going to die’ began with Phil warmly greeting the audience. After some tongue-in-cheek jokes and a few questions, there was a palpable level of engagement and vigour that filled the room, and I believe everyone joining online or was present at the time would wholeheartedly agree.

Phil introduced a video of his interviews with healthcare professionals. In the interviews he discusses what they do in their jobs, and what they do to make life on the frontline more bearable. The main question he asks is: ‘What makes you laugh at work?’. This was a fascinating and funny insight into the daily work life struggles of different healthcare professionals.

After this, Phil introduced CLANGERS. Not ‘The Clangers’ from the famous sci-fi television show from the early 70s, Phil’s CLANGERS are something completely different. To be healthy Phil believes that we need to adopt daily habits that are fun, good for us and rewarding. One way to remember them is by using the acronym CLANGERS. Phil explained that the acronym was created to depict the eight daily ‘vitamins of health’:

  • Connect
  • Learn
  • (be) Active
  • Notice
  • Give back
  • Eat well
  • Relax
  • Sleep

Throughout the session Phil emphasised that our health is linked with freedom to live a life that we value. He talked about our ability to bounce back when our circumstances change, and life kicks us in the teeth. The weight and meaning of these words grew as we discovered Phil’s family history: Phil told us of a family history of mental illness, depression and suicide, and that his father had died by suicide – as had his great grandfather and great uncle.

The session ended with Phil asking everyone to take a CLANGERS pledge. But he reminded the audience not to beat themselves up if they don’t manage all the daily basics. Life is tough, he said, and therefore we should treat CLANGERS as an aspiration that is taught from cradle to grave. He said they are a basic human right, so that we can help people from falling into the river of illness and spending a fortune in the NHS to pull them out.

This session was a fantastic finale to this year’s People Summit. For anyone who has not had the pleasure of seeing one of Phil Hammonds sessions, or shows, I highly recommend watching this one. You can expect a combination of comedy, healthcare and insider NHS knowledge. This, coupled with an active determination for improvement and the comedic eye for the absurd, inevitably leads to laughter and intense listening.

Watch the whole session now, to discover more about Phil and CLANGERS.