The new broom at the NHS might just be the “Gerry Robinson” we need!
Simon Stevens has been appointed NHS England chief executive. With 26 years of healthcare management experience under his belt, he certainly seems like a good choice for the job.
More background on this important development can be found here:-
Simon Stevens sets out vision for radical NHS change and innovation
One of his first actions certainly looks encouraging:-
NHS bosses told to ditch first-class travel and take the bus
And his first major speech certainly indicates that he has a grasp of the problems involved. You can read this here:-
Full text of Simon Stevens’ speech
However, we should be under no illusions about the magnitude of the task that lies before him. There have been so many disastrous mistakes perpetrated, politicians insist on moving the goalposts, and the needs of the public at large are constantly changing.
It is indeed a nightmare scenario!
A few of the major points are listed below.
NHS hit by new tech failure as it scraps patient booking system
“The NHS is quietly ditching an electronic booking system for outpatient appointments, Choose and Book, which has cost £356m since 2004, in a further sign of the difficulties of introducing efficient IT systems into the health service. The decision to replace it with a potentially even more expensive e-referral scheme by 2016 follows a drop in its use by doctors and patients.”
The replacement scheme is probably also doomed to failure unless good management practice is followed from the start. The most essential prerequisite is to get the specification for a new system agreed by all interested parties, before any work on the design is started.
The Tamiflu Debacle
Tamiflu: A Colossal Waste of Money
“Cochrane’s Review concludes that the hundreds of millions of dollars paid to Roche and other pharmaceutical companies has been largely a waste of money that could have been much better spent on other health measures.”
Cuts and Redundancies
7,000 key NHS clinical staff made redundant amid enforced cuts
“Dr Mark Porter, chairman of the British Medical Association, said forcing the NHS in England to make £20bn of “efficiency gains” by 2015 at a time of rising demand for healthcare was wrong and damaging.
Porter was speaking to the Guardian after the Department of Health (DH) admitted that 7,060 NHS clinical staff, such as doctors and nurses, have been made redundant since the coalition took power in 2010, at the same time as David Cameron was pledging to protect the service’s frontline from cuts.”
Shortage of Personnel
Doctors paid up to £3,000 a shift, official figures show
“Many of the trusts said they struggled to find staff because of the national shortage of consultants and that safety of patients came first. Several said they were working to reduce their spending on agency staff, but that payments were in line with standard fees paid for locum staff.”
Bigger Waiting Lists
This is only to be expected, with fewer staff, less money, and an aging population!
300,000 more patients on NHS waiting list under coalition
“The number of people waiting for NHS hospital treatment has risen by more than 300,000 under the coalition, amid concern that NHS rationing is forcing patients to wait longer for operations. NHS data shows that 2.88 million people in England were waiting for consultant-led treatment in December 2013, up by 310,000 or 12% on May 2010.”
In spite of everything, I am still convinced that with the right management, the NHS can still be turned around.
Lets hope that Simon Stevens proves to be the man we need!