Rearranging deckchairs

I lost momentum with my blogging and I am determined to ensure a minimum of one a month throughout 2015, however difficult it proves!

The year has not got off to the best start for the NHS with so many headlines relating to A&E performance and multiple interpretations as to who or what is to blame – in previous blogs I have discussed delayed discharge: just one of the factors that contribute to the current ‘crisis’.

We may get over the blip with A&E targets – where everyone seems to focus on the government target, not what quality of care patients are getting – but we have further problems down the road and A&E issues are a symptom of wider system issues that we need to address.

In South Manchester we are still looking at a tough financial challenge over the coming years, and we are going to have to work hard to ensure we meet the needs of our community. I have said before, this will need a collaboration between patients, clinicians and the CCG if we are to do it effectively

One constant frustration I have with the system is how funding is constantly complicated – the Government seem to give with one hand and take away with the other: they get the headlines of ‘pumping money in’ when it really feels like we are rearranging deckchairs on the titanic.

The impact of this is that planning is exceptionally difficult, parts of the system are permanently in a cycle of crisis management with little opportunity for people to step back and see where the problems lie – and involving patients and public in the debate about the future and service redesign becomes next to impossible in a system in such constant flux.

The system needs a little breathing space – more money right now would help, but wouldn’t solve all the problems – we need a longer term settlement, less random bidding rounds like ‘The Prime Ministers Challenge Fund’ distracting us and a rethought through relationship between primary and secondary care. We need clinicians from all parts of the system to engage with the public and design solutions that make sense to clinicians and patients alike. Otherwise I worry we will just keep messing about with the deck chairs once again.



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