I’m sure this is breach of copywrite or something, but it is taken from the brilliant Roy Lilley blog which is sent out via e-mail to subscribers and I can’t link to so I’m copying it whole.
Patrick Jenkin, Norman Fowler, John Moore, Kenneth Clarke, William Waldegrave, Virginia Bottomley, Stepehn Dorrell, Frank Dobson, Alan Milburn, John Reid, Patricia Hewett, Alan Johnson, Andy Burnham and LaLa.
Fourteen Secretaries of State for Health. That’s how many I have served, criticised, congratulated and excoriated. Three I thought were fantastic, three hopeless and one an absolute disaster. The rest just sat in the seat and were generally irritating. Now we have a new bum in the chair.
What’s he like? Well, there is a book that is very revealing. It glories in the modest title ‘The Plan’ Twelve Months to Renew Britain. Published in 2008, it was written by Carswell, a Tory politician and Hannan, a journalist turned politician.
On page 98 they deal with the NHS; ‘outcomes are poor, it costs too much and would be better broken up into an insurance based system’. Page 195 is worth a look. You’ll find a list of the great and good supporting the document; including one ‘Jeremy Hunt MP’.
It’s true 2008 was a long time ago but, well, you know what I mean don’t you? Leopards spots, rabbits habits… It’s obvious isn’t it? Jeremy Hunt has not been appointed for his rose tinted vision of the NHS. He has been appointed because Number 10 thinks he can smarm us into believing what is happening, isn’t.
LaLa, love him or not, had his own vision for the NHS and pushed, shoved, misdirected and crow-bar’d it, needlessly, into an improving health service. Hunt doesn’t have a vision of his own. He hitched a ride with someone else’s ideas in 2008 and in 2012 here he is again with an equally daft borrowed band-wagon.
I’d say Hunt is instinctively to the right on health but without his own ideas he is ‘LaLite’.
What should LaLite do? It’s impossible for him to unpick the Health and Social Care Act but he might try and make sense of it. If I may have the temerity; four pieces of advice come to mind.
First, persuade GPs it is their own interests to form bigger CCG groupings. They won’t like it but it is obvious to us all; they are too small, CSS’s will suck power away from them and the Carbuncle’s outposts will jump all over them. Explain to the GPs there is nothing to stop locality commissioning. If you can get to 50 CCGs, the management cost allowance cap will neuter ideas of bureaucratic sprawl. Ensure Docs are in the driving seat, with a proper strategic board. It will give you a chance to dump Carbuncle outposts and CCSs and stop power being sucked into the centre. It makes sense and saves money. Don’t be bounced, take your time. Get it right.
Second; get a grip of Monitor. It is turning into a small country with a budget to match. I am by no means satisfied they know what they are supposed to be doing. Their consultation documents wander into areas of health insurance and other stuff that is none of their business. Get them in; read the riot act, slash their budget and change the Chief Executive, he looks bewildered.
Third; tear up the draft Mandate and try again. It is too detailed, too cumbersome and definitely too long. Try the ‘one side of a piece of A4′ rule. Focus on quality, quality and quality – the rest will fall into place. Almost all quality improvement comes from simplification of design, processes and procedures
Fourth; write to every NHS employee and tell them the three things you really want to achieve. Kill the stories about you on homeopathy, abortion and hospital closures by having the courage to say what you really believe in. That way people will believe in you.
That’s my advice to LaLite who hasn’t had the most distinguished of careers to date; briefly a management consultant, switched to English teacher, failed marmalade exporter and PR thingummy. A tangle with MPs expenses, a stupid remark about the Hillsborough disaster and all that palaver over BSkyB.
So, here we go again. Do your best LaLite. Oh and try not to look stupid in press pictures. Buy a comb, you’re not a kid anymore, you are my Health Secretary Number 15 and I want you to do well. We all deserve it.
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