My mission statement

The times we are working in now need a great deal of accelerated change and there must be no negotiating that down. So my mission statement for this part of my consultancy career is to be clear that there needs to be and will be a lot of change from the work that I do with individuals and organisations and if organisations don’t want that, then it is probably best to go somewhere else.

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First Conservative casualty of a Conservative policy that is facing both ways – going forwards and backwards in health care.

Filed Under (Coalition Government, Health Policy, London, Reform of the NHS, Secretary of State) by Paul on 27-05-2010

In the last week followers of my blog will have read several posts outlining what I see as one of the essential contradictions in modern Conservatism in general and how it is working its way through health policy within the current Government.

On the one hand the Secretary of State is following good modern Conservative principles and is letting loose market forces into the NHS to drive very considerable change.

On the other hand the Secretary of State is following good old fashioned Conservative principles and is wanting to preserve hospitals because they are a crucial set of buildings in communities that would otherwise have to undergo a great deal of market change.

The first attacks the second, and the second defends against the first.

And in this first week we have seen both implemented by the new Secretary of State without any sense that there is a problem here.

It’s pretty obvious that this situation is unstable. But even I thought it would take longer than a week for this instability to become obvious.

On 19/05 I posted a comment that the Secretary of State had ordered NHS London to stop Ara Darzi’s Health Care for London improvements London because he wanted to defend both the small practices of GPs – and wanted to reopen wards in hospitals that clinicians wanted to close such as Barnet and Chase Farm.

In London it was clear that the new Conservative Secretary of State is, for the moment, against modernity and in favour of a golden past – one which was much more dangerous to patients.

Luckily for Londoners not all Conservative supporters are against modernity or are so wedded to the past.

Yesterday the chair of the London SHA resigned because he, as a Conservative supporter, does not only believe in market-driven change but is intelligent enough to know that the outcome of that change is to close institutions that do not succeed.

The letter he sent to the Secretary of State said:

“As you know I was appointed to the chairmanship of NHS London in December 2008 with a specific mandate from the then Secretary of State Alan Johnson to deliver the programme of changed outlined by Professor Sir Ara Darzi in Health acre for London. It is a task I have relished, and I am confident that the achievements of the SHA over the past two and a half years will have seen in time to have made real improvements to the experience of Londoners.

The Coalition Government of which you are a member has however a very different prospectus for the NHS in London which you outlined to me at our meeting on 19 May. I have reflected on what you said, and concluded that our visions of healthcare delivery bear so little in common that it would make no sense for me to continue in this role.”

Now I don’t know Andrew Lansley but I was lucky enough to work for a few months with Sir Richard Sykes. The latter is one of the great health care innovators of the last few years. If he ‘relishes’ something and then feels he can no longer continue with the task he relishes – because someone wants to hang on to the past – then I don’t think he can remain quiet about the backward steps that will result.

Attempts by the Secretary of State to hang on to the past in London will become more and more entangled with failure, an increasing lack of value for money and medical lack of safety.

I suspect Sir Richard will point out whose fault this really is.

London is a great modern city. Turning the clock back in its health service will not work.

Someone who really believes in the modern world has made a point about the importance of modernity in the NHS and I really hope he continues to do so.


One Response to “First Conservative casualty of a Conservative policy that is facing both ways – going forwards and backwards in health care.”

  1. I agree. Sir Richard looked to the future and so should we. Otherwise what is it about.

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