It’s been two and a bit years since I published my review into options and opportunities for providers of NHS care. It was my privilege to think through and propose, to the Secretary of State, new ways for providers to address the challenges they faced.
Today these challenges of financial and service pressures, and sharp variation in both efficiency and quality remain. It’s my firm view that the ideas explored in the review still hold true today, and warrant attention from all those providing NHS care. How have we progressed since 2014? And what work still remains?
In a second I’ll ask you to shut your eyes. To think about the best working collaboration you’ve had with someone from outside your organisation. To think about why the relationship worked when others didn’t. Ready? Ok, go.
Welcome back. What did you come up with? If you’re anything like me, words such as trust, respect, fun, and honesty might be swimming around your brain. The ability to pick up the phone and ask a silly question, or a favour, or just rant.
Ok, next one. Don’t need to shut your eyes for this. Think about words you’d associate with a couple of the most prominent NHS versions of collaboration: mergers between providers, or the beloved sustainability and transformation plans. Of the printable terms, I’m guessing governance, due-diligence, and synergies, might be there or thereabouts.
In classic millennial fashion (although in my defence I did have to google the criteria for being a millennial) I like to travel, and I’m happy to have found myself in a sector which enables my penchant for upping sticks and relocating to far-flung locations. Health care is a universal sector; people worldwide recognise the word hospital, or at least doctor.
While working in Myanmar, I was struck by the sheer volume of challenges facing the health sector – somewhat unsurprising given it spends a little over 1% of GDP on public healthcare. However, there were also several occasions where I found myself thinking ‘this sounds similar to a problem we face in the UK’ - how you best get primary and acute care to collaborate for one. Back on UK soil, and that ‘this rings a bell’ feeling has increased tenfold.