One we can do without

News and Comment from Roy Lilley.

‘Should I Stay or Should I Go?’  We have the Clash’s Mick Jones to thank for that enduring lyric.

Deciding when to stay and when to go, from a job, can be tricky.

If you wake up miserable, go to bed miserable and everything in between is miserable… I guess it’s time.  If you hate the people you work with, the stress is impacting on your health, your family is suffering, if you’re too good for the job?  There are a lot of reasons.

If there is a golden rule about leaving, it is; don’t burn your bridges.  You never know where the future might take you!

I wonder how much, if any of that, crossed the mind of Bob Kerslake, when he decided to throw in the towel as the Chair of King’s College?

He’s written a short piece in the Guardian about it.  He tells us the CQC said; 

‘The chair was held in very high regard by staff at all levels.’

Well, that’s a clue.  The gossips claim DiDo gave him the heave-ho, on Friday.  I wonder if it’s true?  She’s hardly been running NHSI for long enough to know which way is up.  If it is true it’s got DH finger-prints all over it. 

Like just about every other Trust in the country, King’s is struggling.  Too many patients, not enough money, too few staff, the local health economy melting and the embarrassment of special measures looming.

If Kerslake really thinks the financial regime is ‘unrealistic‘ he should say so and dared them to sack him.  Had a public row about what is achievable.  A lot of people would have admired him for that.

Perhaps if Bob had managed to persuade the rest of the Shelford Group Chairs to march on Downing St., and shove their resignation letters up the Number Ten letter box, they might have listened? 

This man should know better.  He has a degree in mathematics, is a member (by qualification) of the Chartered Institute of Public Finance, been the boss of a number of local authorities and a Permanent Secretary in Whitehall.

Times are tough, very tough and Brexit is the preoccupation for the foreseeable.

He, of all people, must know Whitehall will simply brush this off; ‘… they are sorry to see him go but they have put more money into the NHS than Croesus and blah, blah….’ 

Kerslake knows the score.  He knows whether he quits or not, whatever the circumstances, nurses will still be doing crippling, back-to-back 12hr shifts with no breaks and dangerous levels of staffing.

Whether he stays or goes, there will still be rota gaps for junior doctors.  There will still be columns of numbers that don’t add up.  People coming to work, busting a gut to keep services going thorough this weather, the Novo Virus and collapsing social care.

What the NHS needs is leaders.  When the going gets tough, leaders get tougher.  They battle their corner, fight for what is right.  They inspire, show us examples.

They roll up their sleeves, innovate, give us ideas.  

The NHS needs winners not quitters.  The NHS needs to know its leaders understand the environment they are working in and the reasons for it.  The NHS needs leaders with tough courage and compassionate understanding.  The NHS needs leaders who will see the task through.

Next year the NHS will be 70yrs old.  In that time it has faced challenges, sometimes, seemingly insurmountable, but people came to work and saw it through.  Made sure there was an NHS for their families, their kids and their kid’s kids.

Now it’s our turn.  Quitting, whatever the reason and writing self-praise in a newspaper, wont help the thousands of staff at this fine hospital. 

The NHS needs them all but there might be just one we can get by without.


 Contact Roy – please use this e-address 

Know something I don’t – email me in confidence.

Leaving the NHS, changing jobs – you don’t have to say goodbye to us! You can update your Email Address from the link you’ll find right at the bottom of the page, and we’ll keep mailing.