Tuesday, 18 December 2012
Health and Carols
An important day for the NHS. An even more important day for patients and citizens. The publication of "Everyone Counts", which sets out priorities for the new Commissioning Board and
the announcement (three cheers) that information about consultants performance is now to be published.
Of course there has been the usual whinge from parts of the medical profession about how unreliable etc it all is, but I believe the majority of the NHS staff know this is the right thing to do for patients and also welcome it.
In many areas of surgery it has been long known to those in the medical profession that there are differences in outcomes between doctors, some simply the result of experience and practise. So it is well known that the outcomes of surgery can vary quite significantly. At a recent fringe I did at the Tory Conference one of the doctors on the panel instanced prostate cancer surgery. There is a dramatic difference between surgeons who have performed the procedure 10 times as opposed to those that have done this at least 100. The likelihood of serious damaging quality of life side effects is much reduced with a more experienced surgeon. Of course, this raises the difficult problem of how on earth a surgeon gets that experience if we all choose the 100x surgeon! But the information is important. So well done to David Nicholson!
And at the weekend (from the Sunday Times'; which also carried a 4 para quote from me on volunteering!) I was delighted to read the comments from the NHS medical director about the need for the NHS to provide services 7 days a week. About time frankly. The fact that expensive, life saving medical equipment lies idle at weekends is unacceptable in a service that is supposed to put patients first. As Keogh said, why should people be expected to take a day and a half of work to take their aged parent to hospital when hospitals could provide scans and other services at weekends.
In a cash limited NHS we need to use resources more efficiently. We also need a more citizen centred approach; not just the patient but their family, carers and friends. It's good to see the NHS having this debate.
There has often been lip service to putting patients first so now is the chance to make a revolutionary change. And the announcement today by David Nicholson, and his performance on the Today programme were a great indication of the direction of travel for the new Commissioning Board. More please!!
Last night it was Carols in the Royal Albert Hall and the Bubb clan were out in force. My sister Lucy sings in the Royal Choral Society and for a hundred years they have given an annual Carol Concert in the RAH. Not the debased jingle bell stuff , but proper full-on Carols that celebrate Christ's coming, as opposed to Tesco's longer opening hours. The Welsh Guards on hand for the trumpet fanfares and readings by Robert Powell. All terribly splendid and uplifting. I even had head hunter in chief David Fielding along as a Bubb guest!