Monday, February 8, 2010
Letter to the Editor and bed news
The Bed Co-ordinator who was of course very nice, even at 7.30 on a Monday morning, just called and I will have a bed. Not straight away, I will have to wait in the day room while they "shunt" things round but sometime today I will get to lay claim to my own piece of furniture. So the warfare begins.
On a similar note, I have dashed off a letter to The Times which I have copied below. Let battle commence!
Your leader of 6 February called on the main political parties to tackle reform in the NHS. As an erstwhile Senior Manager of an NHS organisation and chair of an NHS Trust, I couldn’t agree with you more. I now have a rare form of cancer which is terminal and have had care here in the UK, by chance in France and by choice in Germany. I now know, therefore, that what, where, when and how our European neighbours receive health services is so superior to what, where, when and how the NHS does it that it should be a shame to us all. The solutions are not simple. A former Secretary of State for Health once described it as trying to turn round a tanker, I wonder now if the tanker needs to be scrapped and a new model brought into play. Two ideas to start with, drawn from my recent experience and observations: firstly we should question very closely what we have gained since the Griffiths Report of the 1980s which introduced a tier of management into the NHS that has grown like Topsy due to more and more Government initiatives and which is unquestionably very expensive. There is no such tier across the channel and we have to ask ourselves what benefits it is delivering to patient care. Are these managers, all in my experience dedicated and hard working people, in fact getting in the way of the quality our neighbours enjoy by soaking up precious resources and spending time and energy in saving money that in fact desperately needs to be spent on front-line services? Secondly as a nation we have to stop thinking that high quality healthcare is some sort of God given right which we only have to pay peanuts for; we need to grow up and dig deeper into our own pockets just as they do in Avignon, Aachen and I presume Amsterdam. In a nutshell we need to pay more bucks and get more bangs, scans and good old fashioned patient care from every single one of them.
Deputy Chief Executive, NHS Confederation 1986 -1998
Chair, South Birmingham Mental Health Trust 1998 – 2002
Vice-Chair, South Birmingham Primary Care Trust 2002-2006