Tuesday 13 September 2011

Going Dutch with Stuart!

An interesting lunch! Stuart and I were invited to the Dutch Ambassador's residence for lunch with the Dutch Interior minister. He wanted to talk " big society" so we also had the great Philip Blond who held forth on the subject, amongst other things. Elegant surroundings and elegant meal but purposeful discussion. There is much interest around Europe in this idea of Cameron, but like the rest of us they are not quite sure what it means.

The " right to challenge" in health was one of the more radical ideas emerging from the Future Forum. The DH are working on the concept and how to translate into legislation- the idea would be to put amendments into the Bill in the Lords. So we had a working session between DH officials and a group of members to discuss how to do this. A really interesting session. There are a range of practicalities to be sorted to put this into law, and some issues of principle as well. Who is covered ? Do you exclude areas like A+E?

I think we ended up with some useful consensus- this new right will not just serve as a way in which communities and patients can challenge poor standards in a practical way but encourage new models of delivery and innovation.

As always, my members were on good form: practical! Raising issues in a constructive way that helped DH. And I was impressed at the calibre of the DH team too. I hope we can work out a good way to implement this new " Right"that gets parties on side and lets the new GP groups see it as a positive help, not a bureaucratic hindrance.

And to cap off the day I go to RNIB for my regular supervision session with my Chair , Lesley-Anne Alexander. The CEO-Chair relationship is cruciual to running a successful organisation. Just the right amount of challenge , backed by just the right amount of praise and always based on the proper division of the exec and non exec roles. I am lucky to have a Chair who embodies good practice. Long may she reign.

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