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NHS Transformation - Pouring Water on the Beach?

All the political parties are gearing up for the general election on May 7th. And as expected, the battle of words over the NHS is ratcheting up.

This week both the Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition set out their positions, seeking support for their vision of the NHS.

I was struck by an answer Ed Miliband gave when he was challenged. The Labour leader was promising £2.4bn for the NHS. The interviewer, quite rightly said “But the Chief Executive of the NHS, Simon Stevens, has said they need £20bn. Why are you not committing to that figure?”

Miliband’s answer was telling. “This is a transformation fund”. He then went on to commit to additional staff and re-emphasise the need for fuller integration.

For the Labour Party to commit, not to the full £20bn asked for, but a much smaller (but still of course substantial) sum to bring about change is really interesting. They are not offering a blank cheque; they want change.

It was once said of the Blair government that they felt investing in the NHS was like pouring a huge bucket of water onto the beach. It looked big, but once you had spent it, it disappeared with no real lasting effect.

This is why Miliband wants to transform, not simply bail out. He wants to spend money on initiatives that will bring about lasting change and innovation; projects that will revolutionise service delivery and NHS outcomes.

The thing is, can the NHS do this? Are acute trusts and CCGs, Mental health providers and CSU’s ready with a list of projects to transform the NHS? Many will have the ideas, but not the business plans

At Sirius we don’t do politics. But we do transformation. And we know that you make change happen by investing wisely and asking tough questions. Change the culture, challenge the expectations, re define the boundaries.

We hope the rhetoric turns into reality. And if we can help – well you know where we are.

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