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In the consulting room: refreshing the plan

 
Thursday, 6 April 2017

In the consulting room: refreshing the plan

In the latest in our occasional series of near-reality programmes, a bearded man visits a spin doctor to discuss an embarrassing problem.

Spin doctor: Good morning. What can I do for you today?

Simon Stevens: I’m worried about my plan – I think it’s stopped working.

Doctor: I see. Well I’m sure I can give you something for that. (Consults notes.) Last time I saw you – er, in 2014 – you seemed to be making good progress.

SS: Yes, it was all fine. Everyone was talking about a full recovery in five years.

Doctor: But you weren’t so sure?

SS: Of course not. That’s just what it said in the plan.

Doctor: And you’ve been sticking to the diet?

SS: It will only work if we all confront difficult choices. We can’t have everyone living on bail-outs.

Doctor: Yep, okay. And taking plenty of exercise?

SS: I’ve thrown out the old reinforcing cycle. It always had the right direction of travel but it wasn’t getting me anywhere.

Doctor: Excellent, so what’s next?

SS:  The thing is, I just feel people are a bit bored with my plan and have stopped believing it.

Doctor: Sorry, what were you saying? I zoned out for a moment. What you need is something to pep you up.

SS: Like a new plan?

Doctor: Oh, no. Nothing that radical.

SS: A revised one then?

Doctor: We don’t use that word any more. A refresh is a less invasive procedure that involves cutting out any really bad bits and glossing over the rest.

SS: What would I call it, this refresh?

Doctor: How about Five Year Forward Reset?

SS: No, we’ve used “reset”. That was one of Jim’s.

Doctor: We want a vigorous term that suggests progress.

SS: Five Year Forward View: Intense Step Suffer-fest?

Doctor: That could be your next plan. What about just Next Steps on the Five Year Forward View?

SS: It’s a bit boring. And, anyway, can a view have steps?

Doctor: Don’t worry about any of that. People love a mixed metaphor, the blander the better.

SS: You’re right. Thanks, doc. I feel a lot better already.

Doctor: So what’s going to be in the plan – a lot of detail?

SS: (Laughs.) You crack me up.

Doctor: Okay, I’m going to write you out a prescription. This should help you focus your mind, accelerate performance and scale back spending on locally unaffordable services. It should also stop things from running too hot and make it easier to take hard-nosed decisions.

SS: (Reads from piece of paper.) So are these like vanguards?

Doctor: No, you can stop taking them. These are much better. We call them accountable care systems. They’re a bit bigger – some people find them hard to swallow.

SS: How many do I need to take?

Doctor: Start with nine. If they have no effect, come back and see me in a few years and we’ll try something else.

SS: That’s really encouraging.

Doctor: Not really. That’s just the next available appointment.  Can you send in Mr Mackey on your way out? His results are back and it’s not looking good.

Medical editor: Julian Patterson

@jtweeterson
julian.patterson@networks.nhs.uk

 
Anonymous says:
Apr 12, 2017 11:19 AM

Doctor: Hello, can I help you?
SC: We are from the Spinformation Commissioner's office - here to investigate a serious breach of patient confidentiality.
Doctor : Ha Ha! Too late - I'm leaving the profession for good!