Sorry about the parrot

A man walked into a pet shop and said; ‘My budgie is dead and I’d like to buy a replacement, please.’

The pet-shop man said; ‘We don’t sell budgies.  We have parrots, they’re cleverer and have better plumage.

‘Ok’. Said the man, ‘How much?’

‘We have a blue-bellied parrot from eastern Brazil that speaks Portuguese and French.  That’s £500.  Then, there’s the African Grey.  He speaks Spanish and German and has a degree in nuclear physics… he’s £750.’

‘Oh,’ said the man, ‘I didn’t expect them to be so expensive.  What about the green one?’

‘Ah, that’s an eclectus parrot and he’ll cost you £1,000.’

‘Blimey,’ said the man, ‘What does he do?’

‘Nothing’, said the pet-shop man, ‘It’s just that the others call him the chairman.’

A joke from the early days of the Thatcher reforms when chairman were the new novelty in the NHS.  It came to mind over Christmas, flying my new drone, made by a company, inexplicably, called Parrot.

I learned to fly by watching a video on YouTube.

It was over Xmas a friend, who used a thing called a Time Capsule, to back-up their stuff, called.  It’d conked out.  A data recovery company wanted the best part of £1,000 to delve into it and rescue the memories.

I learned, watching a YouTube video, how to take the Capsule apart, whip out the disc, pop it into a ‘caddy’, plug it into a computer and transfer the data, safely, to The Cloud.  Total cost, thirty five quid.

I’m interested in the history of magic.  I got it from my Dad.  He was a window cleaner and despite having the hard, horny hands of a working man, was a deft manipulator of cards and card-sleight.

There was a trick I wanted to know how to perform.  I learned it, yesterday, watching a video on YouTube.

Technology, bring it on.  Everything you need to know is a click away.

Last week I was at an excellent workshop, run by Rand, with some super bright people, thinking about innovation and technologies; why are we so poor at adopting them.

This is the crib sheet they gave us.  You’ll see there are about ten organisations engaged in driving NHS innovation.  In total they cost £89 million.

Yup, we are spending £89m to help us spend millions, buying stuff from people who should be selling it to us… if you see what I mean.

I’m wondering if we haven’t got something wrong?

People’s lives are full of technology.  Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, YouTube, Instagram and the rest.  We use this tech because it helps, does things we want.  We don’t go on courses, they are intuitive.  If not we don’t use them.

We come to work and step over the threshold of a time machine.  Onto the set of ‘Life on Mars’.  In our case a Life with Florence.

We still don’t have ubiquitous WiFi; CCGs are supposed to be organising it, the bureaucracy is pure Pedigree Chum; a dog’s breakfast. Paying for it?  The DH and there’s a palaver over the VAT.  

Everyone, too nervous of the obvious solution; national procurement.  JGDI.

I’m hearing there is something called the Digital Nurse, programme?  Apparently, we are teaching nurses to use technology.  My guess is, they need little in the way of teaching anything other than Zen Calming, to overcome their frustration at working in an IT desert.

Junior Doctors are using WhatsApp because NHS communications are so clunky.  In two weeks, just over seven thousand people signed up for the Babylon, ‘talk-to-a-doc-on yer-phone’ App.  We don’t know how many have subscriptions with the other primary-care access Apps.

Trusts are developing their own solutions to deal with local issues.  Many are on the Academy. 

The staff and the patients are frustrated and over-taking the DH, Digital and NHSI. 

Let’s do six things.

  1. Put an accountable CIO and a responsible NED on every NHS board.
  2. Sort out who is running the ‘innovations show’, there can’t be ten organisations.
  3. Identify three things the NHS should focus digital efforts on, go for it; then do the next three.
  4. Have an identifiable front-door for vendors. 
  5. Ask where the tariff and contracts prevent the introduction of innovation and change it.
  6. Get the wifi sorted. 

...and, sorry about the parrot joke.


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