Blithering on purpose


Following reports in the media about the appointment of a major firm of management consultants, Sir Trevor Longstay, chairman of Blithering Improvement, has issued a short statement. All press enquiries to Martin Plackard, strategic director of crisis communications.

Here is Sir Trevor’s statement in full.

Once again the media have misreported our recent award of a modest contract to a highly respected firm of consultants, McRummage and Co, who have been retained to do vital organisational development work for the Blithering health economy.

The facts are these:

Blithering Improvement has, in common with many other NHS organisations, undergone a period of uncertainty and financial constraint, which has left us wondering what we do and why.

After a thorough strategic review the board concluded that the only possible explanation for the deterioration of NHS finances is the recklessness of providers, which have totally neglected to implement the efficiency recommendations so plainly set out by Lord Carter. The review also confirmed that nothing is our fault.

However, the continued refusal of providers to work within the entirely reasonable constraints of financial regulation and their apparent unwillingness to embrace the innovation and new ways of working mandated by the transformation agenda described by the Five Year Forward View, leave us no choice but to take decisive action, namely to embark on a strategic review of our structure and purpose.

The decision to deploy external consultants was not taken lightly and only after an exhaustive options review and a robust procurement process running to six courses and several hours of painstaking dining.

Some elements in the media have drawn invidious comparisons between the new review and work undertaken by a rival consultancy David Rummage Associates two years ago. That programme had very different objectives, namely to establish our culture, values and operating model. It is entirely appropriate that after a due period of reflection and testing of the emergent organisation we are now ready to take the next evolutionary steps towards structure and purpose.   

As a result of the review we expect to create two new strategic executive posts.

A director of structure will oversee the work to develop a more impactful structure and will lead an internal review of the McRummage review, culminating in a set of high impact recommendations for a new organisational chart.

A director of purpose, working closely with the director of structure, will be responsible for ensuring that the findings of the McRummage review are fully realised in the new structure, aligned with the efficiency, transformation and estates agendas, and embedded at all levels of the organisation. The director of purpose will also be charged with ensuring that the BI mission statement fully reflects the board’s determination that purpose is everyone’s business going forward.

Finally, Blithering Improvement would like to reassure patients disappointed by the closure of some back-office services of marginal value, notably accident and emergency, maternity, mental health and social care, that any savings resulting from the McRummage review will continue to be reinvested in vital frontline bureaucracy.

Editor: Julian Patterson


Reproduced at by kind permission of Julian Patterson.