There are times where we just feel like we are re-living a day, when exactly the same discussions take place and like we are at a meeting from the BBC series W1A (this week we needed to ‘get our shoulders to the wheel’ think about whether we needed ‘to sweat the small stuff’ all whilst making sure we had a ‘clear line of site’), and two incidents in the last week or so made me feel like this.
Because of the groundhog day element I simply need to direct you to previous blogs and put my head in my hands.
Firstly, my most popular blog was a more personal story about how poorly my father was treated over an appointment. Unfortunately the same thing recently happened when my sister took him through for a check up: and once again the solution is a phone call or a letter – one minute they insist on attendance at an outpatients appointment, the hospital makes a mess of it, and then they are happy to communicate by phone or letter. If it has happened twice to my dad in a year, how many other people is it happening to? and how much is it costing us? It is unacceptable and shows systems are not working and they are certainly not patient focused.
The second Groundhog day moment was at this weeks Clinical Commissioning Group meeting. Once again we all used our full repertoire of metaphors and looked at the challenge of our budget and our ability to invest in new forms of delivery that are (correctly) being pushed. The truth is our financial challenge is simply too big. It has to be near on impossible for us to drive the level of efficiency savings in this financial year that are required. Whilst government say they are putting more money in (we may stumble through this year),and whilst the NHS talks about its forward vision, we strive to keep the lights on: I point you back to my previous blog – ‘What do you want us to stop doing?’ as we look at the reality of our future finances.
I truly believe that given the financial challenges ahead, they only way to survive in the current funding environment is to simply stop doing some things. There are of course efficiencies to be made – as my Dad’s story clearly shows, but this will not touch the sides. The sooner we get on with a good debate about what we can stop doing the better as a collective decision will be better than one imposed from above, the outcomes are not going to be popular – otherwise I fear for the ‘Devo Manc’ team who will have to join us in the challenge, as, to finish on a metaphor, they will truly be receiving a ‘hospital pass’.