Where the NHS excels

Anyone who has attended an NHS conference recently knows you just can’t beat them when it comes to back-slapping and self-congratulation. But here is a video of a brave nurse who stood up to the big chiefs at an NHS Board meeting, and dared to challenge them.

Today, members of the public who manage to get to an NHS conference will get a surprise.  Instead of seriously talking about problems facing the service, speaker after speaker will stand up and tell the audience how well the NHS is doing.

You wonder what are they talking about?  Never any mention about staff shortages – waiting times – poor cancer care etc. It’s all gung-ho and back-patting.

Difficulties getting the truth heard

So it was good to see Gay Lee, who has worked tirelessly for the NHS, challenging Lord Prior (the current chair of NHS England and chairman of University College Hospital) in this video. .She highlighted the major problems facing the NHS such as the lack of staff, workforce strategy and funding. Problems which the meeting seems to have ‘overlooked. ….

NHS administration (those with the six-figure salaries) seem to live in a cocooned world. Grand statements about X-amount of extra staff overlook the reality that it takes years to train these staff.  Therefore those heads of NHS services that were at this meeting need to be challenged on performance.  But instead they have a massive amount of staff to shield them from reality.

I well remember writing a not very complimentary article about one Health Minister’s speech at an NHS conference, and finding visitors to my website soaring.  I then discovered a mole in the Dept. Health (DH)had put a link through from the DH’s website to my not-very-complimentary, but truthful article.  For the 48 hours it took their IT specialists to discover this, my website visitor figures went through the roof.

Now, it is even more difficult to get any adverse comment heard,  So when this video shows Gay bravely challenging Lord David Prior at an NHS meeting I am full of admiration.  .
The man sitting on the right as you look at the video is Simon Stevens, CEO of NHSE – who used to be a senior executive at United Health in the USA.
Apparently the latter said nothing to Gay after the meeting and although David Prior did come up and speak briefly he left as soon as he saw that the new Chief Nursing Officer of NHSE wanted to speak to her.
As Gay says, “the bottom line is that it will take a long time….to train enough staff… and there is not even a strategy document ’til the autumn”.  So who is going to be the next person brave enough to challenge the NHS in public?