Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Acronym Heaven

I'm deep in CIOF and QUIP and trying hard not to be submerged. I think there is a machine in the basement of the Department of Health where they insert policy papers and out comes an acronym.

It’s hard not to get sucked into using all this DH speak and yesterday I was at a meeting with the Dementia Alliance and Clare Gerada, the great president of the Royal College of GPs, took me to task for talking about integrated care pathways.

She said patients are not parcels to be pushed along pathways. She is right. I went back to remove these from my draft.

It is interesting how the health service uses language that excluded and often patronises. Hence "patients". The majority of people managing long term conditions are simply folk, citizens who want support in how they handle their condition. They are not patients.

At a brilliant listening session with the Health Foundation someone from a "patients group" made the point that, on average, someone with Type 2 diabetes has 7 hours contact time with doctors and nurses in a year. The rest of the 365 days they get on with managing their condition (or not).

So those new converts to "integration" (you don't actually need a Bill to do it, so why the hell hasn't the medical establishment sorted this by now instead of thinking it is a clever ploy to counter competition?).

The Dementia Alliance pointed out that one in four of people in hospital beds have dementia. An appalling statistic. But it illustrates the perverse incentives in our current system. It is the same with people who at the end of their life are denied the chance of dying at home. Time to stop focusing on hospitals and look at where the budget is spent. I may have made this point before!

This is a fascinating process. I meet some incredible people. Have been to some great meetings (and some not so great; the one with Unite was not perhaps a highlight).
And so interesting to hear the Clegg speech. Seems he may have some idea about what we are proposing. But be nice if the politicians could perhaps pause before jumping the gun on what I shall be saying. I'm optimistic the report will make a real contribution to better reform. It’s worth the sleepless nights and hassle.

But I do need to put more pen to paper. And this is an historic process for me. For the very first time I composed and sent my civil service minder a "PDF". Of course this was hardly useful as it was pointed out you can't edit a PDF. So I managed to send it as a word document. I've even managed the magic of cut and paste. But my colleagues back at ACEVO be warned: This is not an excuse to remove my PA.


Mike Chitty said...

Of course that is QIPP. Quality, Innovation,Productivity and Prevention Agenda

Bill said...

Opponents of competition who use cheap shots like "privatisation" obviously irritate you as they do me. They would be silenced if the NHS was converted to a genuine mutual by putting representatives of the people/patients on the Commisioning Boards. We already own the NHS by giving us some control over funding the NHS would be a mutual and safer in our hands