I have nothing but sympathy for Andrew Lansley. I mean I genuinely believe his heart’s in the right place. The NHS needs to be reformed, come on, we all know that. He really was the right man at the wrong time.
To be honest, he was doomed from the get go.
A Con-Lib coalition? The era of austerity? Please. It goes beyond that.
Party politics by definition mean that sweeping reforms without an outright majority are nigh on impossible. The NHS is the type of political fodder that the opposition would always use as currency to convince the public that this coalition was all wrong.
I’m not here to discuss the merits of the Health and Social Care Bill. What I am here to do is point out why it went wrong. If I may be so bold as to say that Mr Lansley in fact had the right approach in mind but merely in the wrong order.
He started listening at the wrong time.
Public sector workers and particularly healthcare staff are extremely suspicious of middle management let alone government. To develop such a sweeping reform bill that aims to re-structure the entire health service without public consultation with the healthcare sector was naive.
I know. He did consult with the Royal Colleges. Only after they were up in arms!
Seriously, this was a bill that in its essence is really rather effective and would pave the way for innovation, investment and advancement of our healthcare system in a way not previously seen. Yet, it’s continued survival without being mutated into a diet form that will be debunked by the next administration remains to be seen.
But I digress.
The reality is that the formulation of any reform is like the implementation of any new corporate strategy. To be successful it needs to incorporate the company ethos and the views and proposals of its employees at every level.
If this is done in public with the emphasis on a solution being placed squarely on the shoulders of the Royal Colleges amongst others then a agreeable solution would appear rather soon.
The real bonus is that the fishbowl effect created by Lansley et al would shift the emphasis of a successful outcome on the groups that formulated the solution in the first place.
Who knows? May be trusting those on the frontline would actually lead to a success? Perhaps the clinicians actually know what they’re talking about?
The key is communication and it cuts across all party lines.
The Tories tried it but a little too late.
Their ideas to encourage the roles of the private sector and to reduce bureaucracy are essential to the continued sustainability of a world class healthcare system.
I just worry that politics got in the way. Again.
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Dr Saif F Abed
AbedGraham Healthcare Strategies Ltd