7th December 2015

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Health Chat

14th January King's Fund 5.30pm

Professor Sir Cyril Chantler

What experiences, what tales he has to tell! 

The inside story of the history of the NHS and what next!

Tickets here.

The basics
News and Comment from Roy Lilley
One day, last week, I was on three trains. No big deal. Except... each one of them was late. None of them had Wi-Fi that worked reliably and none of them had a phone signal that enabled a complete conversation.
They were operated by Virgin Trains. If I could, I would avoid Virgin, but I can't.  I have no choice. I will be on several of their trains this week.
Instead of enjoying the experience, I'll get on the train worrying how late I'll be this time and how much of my life Virgin will steal from me, in exchange for a plastic; '...would like to apologise for the late running of this train due to....blah, blah'.
It's never their fault. Overhead this and that dangling, something on the line, a bit broke, the dog ate the time table.
The Prime Minister is talking about a new train line to link to the Northern Powerhouse. In exchange for an investment of enough money to fund the NHS properly and the demolition of homes and ripping up the countryside, we can look forward to getting to Birmingham 20 minutes quicker.
Frankly, I would be satisfied to get to Birmingham or Manchester or Leeds, punctually and be able to use my time on the train, productively, with rock-solid, free Wi-Fi and a decent phone signal. I could use the 'extra' 20 minutes very effectively.
If we can't run the trains we have, properly, efficiently and competently, why should I think we could run a new train system anymore successfully?
It's about getting the basics right. We can't do the basics. We can't keep motorway service station lavatories clean, we can't do roadworks without causing months and miles of traffic chaos.
Starbucks can't clean their tables; Vodafone can't offer clear and reasonable help to business travellers. British Airways... can't hold a candle to Turkish Airlines.
If we got the basics right, how much easier would life be?
The NHS? The NHS has to 'change' they say. Really? From what, to what. From free at the point of use, equity and access, to...
Wouldn't it be better to get the basics of what we do now, right, before we embark on more change?
Getting the basics right. All the great artists and sculptors, however whacky and Salvador Dahli-ish they might be, however 'Picasso', they can all do the basics. Look at their early work (and here). They can all draw. Their flamboyance is based on being masters of their craft.
Sportsmen and women... their achievements all founded on the hours of practice and training, working on the basics that allow them the assurance to go on and achieve their greatness.
Management? Yes, we need flair and innovation. We need knack and invention. But, we need to focus on the basics.
The basiscs?
Non-executives who understand how to read a balance sheet and hold the executive to account. Have a rapier focus on the top three things the organisation must achieve and tell everyone, regularly and tell them again and then remind them. A policy of only hiring the best people and giving them time and space to do great things.
Ask yourself; is this how I'd want my family treated? Would I want my daughter to work here? Ask yourself, given the choice, would I have started my career here. Is it a good place for women to work?
Is the timid voice of the unsure, the wronged and the owner of good ideas drowned out by the management bugle? Are your patients not just satisfied, or happy... are they delighted?
Do we say 'clean' and mean spotless. Do we say punctual and really mean like clockwork? Do we say safe when we should be saying protected, secure and watched over.
Do we listen and learn or do we mean; pay attention, absorb and act.
Can we know what's 'good' unless we benchmark, measure and compare ourselves to the best, not just in the area, the region but the world. Find out who is the best and go and see why and what you have to do to be like them.
You are who you hang-out with; hang out with people who are better than you and learn from them.
It's all pretty basic, isn't it?
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