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Thursday, January 11, 2007

Sir Gerry Doesn't Fix The NHS

I enjoyed the last of the 3 programmes from the series "Can Gerry Robinson Fix The NHS."

The last programme showed the Rotherham hospital CEO making a difference by doing something - like showing his face to his staff.

Having worked in the NHS over 20 years ago it looks to me like nothing has changed.

Like any organisation there are good and bad people. The NHS has created its own problems by allowing all staff to have their own "professional" standards that mean they can overrule change anytime they want.

The stupidity of having a theatre lying around doing nothing on Friday afternoons was mind-boggling. We've already paid for the consultants to work I assume? Maybe all staff have Friday afternoon off unpaid?

Equally I've read about a surgeon who can perform operations in 2 theatres in parallel so that he can get more people through his lists. Why isn't that done more routinely?

I know everyone is going to say cost. But why? If people are sorted out more quickly the administration to get them to hospital appointments would be less. That is they wouldn't forget and have to be sent a reminder, or called or another appointment made. Also they wouldn't need to keep seeing their GP to make sure their condition doesn't deteriorate.

Pooling for low level or technical procedures strikes me as the best way to do things. Look at how ultrasound scans work. You don't have the same person twice running.

In fact on my wife's pregnancy notes it said "you will be seen by the same midwife each time you attend".

Did we?

Of course not!

Did it matter? Not at all.

Anyway back to the programme...

The thing that struck me most about the last programme was the Minister for Health's smugness and the PCT's nice looking offices.

I don't know if this is true but it looks as though chunks of NHS money go to feed the PCTs before being allocated to the hospitals. Rather like how Regions and Districts used to do it in my day. It was staggering the amount of money spent on admin and finance.

So the programme showed Sir Gerry reducing waiting lists. The buzz on the Net suggests anyone could easily have done it and they're only short-term fixes.

My answer to that is if anyone could do it why didn't they. Plus what's wrong with a short term fix?

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