20th March 2015

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Dame Julie Mellor, Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman in conversation with Roy Lilley

King's Fund 15th April Details here

News and Comment from Roy Lilley

Have you had a good week? Me... I dunno. It's been a week of highs and lows.


The highs have been around the Academy of Fabulous Stuff. Thousands of page views, hundreds of uploads, loadsa shares, people wanting to do the good-stuff and find better ways of doing stuff.


The lows? It has to be the entirely predictable, expectable, forecastable, obvious mess at Whipp's and the impact it will have on the people working there and elsewhere and how difficult it is going to be to get new people to work there.


But, there was a 'lower-than-low'. A GP wrote, on Twitter, of an CQC inspection; "... the inspection itself much less than what we did to prepare!"  Prepare... does this mean they would have coasted along without the threat of someone turning up to make them do the job properly? He later wrote of a 'spring-clean'. If it is true, quality has become someone else's job.  The worst of all worlds.  Quality is what you do when no one is watching.


Is this a calumny upon them? No, I judge it to be symptomatic of organisations that are pulled every-which-way-and-this who deal with hot-spots and only the top of their in-tray gets done.


I think it has been a miserable week. The Chancellor fiddled at the margins of healthcare and still left us wondering what happens after the election. There is a 30bn... 40bn... 50bn... hole in NHS finances?  Forty-odd days before the election and there is not sign of a politician who wants to talk about the big blue elephant in the room.


A week when all the representative NHS organisations and so-called think-tanks, made predictable and ridiculous 'responses to the Budget' and talked rubbish about the need for clarity and cobblers, when they should have challenged the political classes head on and in-yer-face. They can't because most of them depend on patronage to exist.


It was at the end of last week when I went to the funeral of a much loved friend; Matthew Young. He was a towering brain-box, an enthusiast and policy wonk who understood the NHS, inside and out. He knew everyone and everyone knew him. It's only been a week and I miss him already.  I can't imagine a future where I can't call him up.


It was a week when I spoke to an audience of supplier salespeople.  Their job; to understand the NHS and sell more to it. None of them read the HSJ, none of them realised the shambolic state of NHS finances, none of them understood the environment within which their business activity took place.


A week when the once fantastic #changeday became a subsidiary of the DH and lost its vibrancy, spontaneity, edge, joie-de-vivre, profile, presence. A week when an ambulance was vandalised and had to be taken off the run.


A week when the NHS was an entire story and I couldn't find the words to write a meaningful sentence about it...


A week when a row roared into life; cancer services in Staffs was (will be, might be) handed to the private sector. No thought of what happens if the money runs out and the company walks away, like Circle and Serco. No Plan B, no performance bond, no assurance... a deal built on naivety and fingers crossed.


Is there a better way to end the week?  There sure is! An evening with winners. An evening with people who care. An evening with people who understand about making a difference and what differences we have to make, can make and should make. People who against all odds, in spite of, regardless... just do it.


As you read this I will be preparing to take part in an awards ceremony. Nursing awards; acknowledging the enormous contribution individual nurses make towards the development of the profession and healthcare as a whole.


I have written endlessly about the patient-facing-front-line of healthcare. I don't think there was ever a time when it mattered more, when it was more crucial, when it was more vital that we understand the front-line is our shop window, where reputations are won and lost.


I don't know who tonight's winners will be, but I do know; when nurses are the winners... we all are winners.


Protect the front line, fund it properly, make it fun to work there and your problems will disappear.


Have good weekend.


What exactly does the Health Ombudsman do?

Find out - I'll be talking with the

Health Ombudsman Dame Julie Mellor - details here 

Book Now


Have a look at the  

Academy of Fabulous Stuff;

Problems looking for solutions - solutions looking for problems.

Make a note; be a sharer this week. 



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In conversation with
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15th April 2015
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