My local hospital is Frimley Park, FT in Surrey. For around thirty years it has been run by the same excellent chief executive who has remained above the imbroglio of politics and distant from controversy. For some unfathomable reason, yesterday, he opened his doors to the political circus called the NHS Future Forum and condemned the hospital to be remembered, forever, as a crime scene. The felony was to kidnap a word from the English language, cut off its face and finger tips, and render it unrecognisable. A sequel, surely, to Martin Cruz Smith's thriller, Gorky Park. Whatever happened at Frimley Park was not 'listening'. The word is defaced and rendered unidentifiable. The leader of this Gilbert & Sullivan gang of felons, is none other than our old friend, failed CMO candidate and former RCGP leader 'gis-us-a-job' Steve Field. I'm told he commands little support in the professions, has made disparaging remarks about his successor (surely not) and, whilst in office, I thought gave the impression that RCGP docs were behind the reforms when a subsequent survey made it obvious they were not. Strange? His accomplices are: Dr David Kerr, parked after the Tories announced his appointment as an advisor, now to do work in the community; Steve Bubb boss of the ACEVO (or should that be ASBO?); Geoff Alltimes CE of London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham (Conservative control); Dr Kathy Mclean (a former GP turned manager); and Julie Moore, graduate nurse, MA and anti-cuts boss of University Hosp Brum, presumably on probation?
There are four areas that are going to listened to:
· The role of choice and competition for improving quality;
· How to ensure public accountability and patient involvement in the new system;
· How new arrangements for education and training can support the modernisation process;
· How advice from across a range of healthcare professions can improve patient care.
6,000 responses in the proper consultation period, 700-odd amendments to the bill (pretty well all sidelined), an excoriating Select Committee Report mean nothing. We will now add; two months worth of public money for a fruitless exercise with a 'C' list of public sector celebrities and the reputation of a once impartial FT down the tubes. A million staff, all the Royal Colleges and the think tanks have said; it ain't gonna work - is anyone listening?
How can we be sure group are to be invovled in murder?
The forensic evidence is in the guts of a leaked memo sent, yesterday, from the Big Beast to senior NHS managers that highlights the 'no listening' areas:
"Today the Coalition Government will publish a document entitled 'Working Together for a Stronger NHS'. We will circulate a copy of this document as soon as it becomes available. (Don't bother we already have a copy and here it is).
It will make clear that during the listening exercise, the commitment to reform on the following remains firm and will go ahead:
· Commissioning to be led by GP consortia
· All Trusts to be Foundation Trusts
· Independent Commissioning Board to be established
· Health Watch to be established
· Increased role for Local Government in Health
· Abolishion of PCTs and SHAs
They are keen not to lose momentum, but there is recognition that during this listening phase a number of planned events cannot go ahead to the agreed timetable. Key things to be aware of include:
· PCTs still to be abolished April 2013
· SHAs still to be abolished but not until July 2012
· National Commissioning Board and new Monitor still to be established but now not until July 2012
The responses to key consultation documents such as Education and Training, Any Willing Provider which were due will not go ahead in this listening period.
National senior appointments such as the Chair of the National Commissioning Board and CE of NTDA will now not go ahead until after this period."
That's what you call listening!
The principle character, Renko, in Gorky Park was thought to suffer from a fictional illness called Pathoheterodoxy Syndrome, a misguided sense of arrogance.
It was said of Renko; "You have unreal expectations, and overestimate your personal powers, You feel isolated from society and mistrust the people who most want to help you. You think you are the exception of every rule. You underestimate collective intelligence - what it is right is wrong and what is wrong right".
'Nuff said? Are you listening?