Thursday 21 April 2011

NHS Future Forum meets!

The Mint Hotel made an unlikely venue for the first meeting of the new NHS Future Forum, set up to listen to concerns about and to review the Health Bill to see if changes can be recommended.

Some 40 of us: doctors and clinicians, third sector leaders , local government, nurse leaders and health service managers; debating the reforms. Opinions varied on where we have got to and where we are going . Arguments and discussion. How can we make GPs accountable? Is this pause just interfering with the health service getting on with their job? Are we being privatised? Do professionals have too much power? Or too little? Is choice good for you? One thing is for sure; this is not a bunch of Government lickspittles! Indeed one member made clear he was not there to " dig the Government out of its hole".

I guess the only issue is whether I shall be able to draw my lovely band of experts looking at choice and competition into a coherent whole that will recommend the changes we want to see there ? I have a group of 10. Feisty and self opinionated ( I believe this is a compliment! ) and not afraid to speak their kinds - sometimes all at once! So on my group I have the shy and retiring Victor Adebowale, CEO of the fantastic and innovative charity Turning Point, Tom Hughes-Hallet from one of the country's most loved charities Marie Curie, a couple of enthusiastic reforming GPs, a President of a Royal College who gives us class and distinction, a council CEO and top rank health service managers.

There were some superb interchanges. A fun debate on how accountable GPs will be. Do the public view them as distant and disconnected? That sparked a debate I can tell you!

We agreed we will have a couple of further meetings and a weekly phone conference call as well as email exchanges , listening events and research gathering. One thing is for clear. This is a rough and ready exercise and we have effectively only 4 weeks for this work. But this is not another consultation and I'm convinced we will be able to come up with something of value and use and advances the public good.

I'm now off to a roundtable with ACEVO members to discuss the reforms. We are having 2 such events. I am also in touch with my colleagues in ncvo, social enterprise and navca about getting their member's views. We are also to hold a third sector day to gather views and opinions.

But today is Maundy Thursday. The solemn celebration of the events of the Passion begin in earnest. I shall be at All Saints tonight for the reembrance of the Last supper and the washing of the feet of 12 local citizens. I liked the thought for today on BBC this morning from my Charlbury neighbour The Arch bishop , who suggested a new law for members of the cabinet, top financiers etc to be obliged to undertake a number of hours of community service with the poor. A good idea.

Actually seeing the PM on an estate in Brixton washing the feet of 12 homeless people would be a great example to set. And somewhat better than the distasteful release of figures from DWP today castigating the obese and drink addicted. There is emerging a nasty tendency to try to blame the unemployed for their misfortunes and return to a concept of the deserving and undeserving poor. This concept is at variance with Christian teaching and the release of these figures on Maundy Thursday by the DWP is to be deplored and condemned .


Caroline Oakshett said...

Great post, & how agree your concerns about re-emerging concept of deserving & undeserving poor. But shockingly, this may not be as new as it seems. Recommend very revealing piece by Jonathan Rutherford; New Labour, the market state & the end of welfare. (Soundings 2007 - even more releavant now). Exquisitely analysed, shines light in dark places.

Unknown said...

Entirely agree with Archbishop comments, community service and voluntary work will a lot of good to our current politicians and leaders! Besides the PM and Cabinet ministers, It should also apply to all MPs, Members of House of Lord, CEO of private and public companies ( at least all in FTSE 250). This will bring them closer to reality.

Professor Anil Jain

Mark said...

To be frank, many people (myself included) think this listening exercise is a sham and the participants are stooges and patsies. How will you convince us otherwise?