Trying to do to the NHS


News and Comment from Roy Lilley.

How you doin?  Warm jumper, Hobnobs, cuppa builders?  Works for me…

After all this… we’ll have a book full of stories… ambulance and community staff being unbelievable… heroes keeping A&E going.  Allied professionals, jumping hoops and hurdles.  Ward staff, working to a frazzle.  

Back office and the unsung, stepping up, working over and over their time to be sure the job is done.

The NHS; characterised by ambulances and blue lights.  Machines that go beep, doctors and nurses in scrubs.  They know, they’re in the footlights.  They also know, backstage; a world of people, bringing their vocation to work; playing their part, keeping the show on the road.  We’re interdependent.

And… sooooo lucky.  Fabulous people.

Being a good employer.  What does it take?  

Knowing we don’t just employ staff.  We employ people with a hinterland; families, mums and dads.  Many are mums and dads.  They’re friends cousins, neighbours… they have a life… hobbies, skills, experiences to share.

What does it mean, to employ the whole person?

Being flexible, child friendly?  We need talent, so must recognise creativity, innovation and ideas… find ways to foster and reward it.

We don’t want idiots, bullies and jerks.  We must make clear we will reward, celebrate and encourage good service and exemplary patient care.

When a person agrees to work with us, do they contribute to the organisation because they are paid to, or do they give us their time and talent because they want to.  

Do we inspire them?  Thank them, when they are right and when they go wrong; find out why and right the wrongs.

As an employer the NHS has huge advantages…

… a near monopoly in some professions.  We get the pick of the crop.  We’ve an international brand, attracting people from all over the world. 

Good people, working with good people, to get better at what they do.  Despite austerity, generally, we’ve secure employment.  People can be with us, in the ‘family’ of the NHS, for as long as they do a good job.

Yes, there’s bureaucracy but you are tax-payers, too. 

Indeed, it’s our NHS.  You pay for it, work to make it better and use it to care for the people you love and the people you’ve never met but love to care for.

You’d have to be singularly idiotic not to be able to make that work.  A collegiate workforce.  A single goal and purpose.  

You’d have to be a prize clodpate not to recognise that.  Turn it to advantage, create success.

What sort of person it is that wants to transfer good hearted people, out of the NHS, into a dinkey-do, limited liability, VAT tax-dodge company.  

What kind of person says; people will be better-off but knowing full well, terms and conditions will have to be identical and new comers will be second class colleagues.  Cover up; they will be part of the NHS but not in it.  Claim they can ‘do more’ when they’re already doing all they can.

What sort of duffer-director can seriously claim this is anything but a fiddle to balance the books.

Here’s an example from one Trust and their ludicrous reasons.  The red bits are mine:

Rising demand for NHS services costs us more and more money… to manage, (They confuse ‘costs’ with funding.  Newco wont change that.  It will shift costs and most likely increase them)

 … we have to look at how best to organise our services to be as efficient as possible. (NewCo will add a layer of governance, a management interface and increased operating costs)  

By moving some … services into a separate company it means [they]… will be able to work together more efficiently, (They can’t, now? Then they’re poorly managed) 

… run their own budgets (They run departmental budgets now), 

make their own decisions (the same managers will make the decisions they do now) …  

… bid for contracts that they could not bid for if they were… part of the NHS (There’s nothing to stop an FT bidding for contracts now.  For NewCo, to successfully bid for a decent size contract, the Trust will have to offer a performance guarantee)… 

they can grow the business… help to support our frontline services… (Oh really! Over what time-frame?)

I end this week with overwhelming admiration for what people are doing in the NHS and in absolute despair of what some people are trying to do to the NHS.

Keep safe… 


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Reproduced at by kind permission of Roy Lilley.