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Answers on a postcard


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Friday, 15 April 2011

Answers on a postcard

Times are hard. Take this advert in the window of the local newsagent. “Wanted: small freezer for uni student.”

Freezing students will not only keep them fresh but save millions in tuition fees and reduce alcohol related A&E attendances into the bargain. They can always be unfrozen when the economy picks up again – if necessary.

It’s this kind of innovative thinking that will get the country moving and propel the NHS out of the doldrums. But don’t look for it in Whitehall and Westminster. It’s happening where you live.

Report after report complains about the difficulty of “shaping the new landscape” when this is clearly no job for politicians or GPs. “Sick of the same old view? Let Andy redesign your garden.”

“Drives, patios and paths – leave it to the professionals.” Has anyone thought of consulting Perkins the Paving People for the lowdown on well-constructed patient pathways? Of course not. Instead it’s left to a bunch of doctors who have never laid a block driveway in their lives.

The NHS is facing a financial crisis. All sorts of complicated solutions have been proposed by brainy civil servants and highly paid consultants. The answer is nestling between ads for an old moped ("perfect for local mobilisation") and a mobile beautician (“hair closer to home”).

There it is in bold type: “Earn up to £3000 a week working from home in your spare time!”

If we all gave up our evenings and weekends to stuff envelopes, sell cosmetics or con pensioners out of their life savings in pyramid selling rackets we could save the NHS in a little over a month.  (Work it out: 1.4 million NHS staff x five weeks x £3000 = £21bn.) 

Instead, we’re taking five years to engineer elaborate A&E diversion, referral management and productivity schemes in the hope of a similar result.

This is what Big Dave (no, not that Big Dave) means by the Big Society. The people have the answers. If only we could learn to listen.

jkeep says:
Apr 18, 2011 05:55 PM
love it - lets re-introduce plain simple common sense, and, lets make it about people...
jistead says:
Apr 18, 2011 05:55 PM
This made me laugh too. Let's listen to the people that work in the NHS - stop reorganising us! We need time to stand still. We haven't recovered from the last restructure. We establish good ways of working/practice only to have it trampled on by expensive restructuring.
emurphy says:
Apr 18, 2011 05:55 PM
So good to have something that makes me laugh on a Friday morning! I love the extension of the landscape analogy.
melsley says:
Apr 18, 2011 05:55 PM
I laughed so loud folk came to see what I was crying about! I agree with Julie - if in doubt - stand still or at least just critically review current processes and refine refine refine. Why not use the Business Change folk that the NHS have finally woken up to!!??