I felt quite encouraged when I visited the Department of Health Website to view the list of people who will make up the NHS Futures Forum. A worthy mix of clinicians, hospital and community, chief executives from Acute Trusts, the voluntary sector and local councils.
My bonhomie was slightly dented when I read the brief for the forum:
‘…..will oversee the NHS listening exercise. It will drive the process of engagement with staff, patients and communities over the coming weeks. …. The Forum’s first task will be to report to the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister and the Secretary of State for Health on what they have heard’
Mmmm – there is such a thing as selective deafness so I can only trust that what is heard will equate to what is being said. There is a danger that this group is a toothless tiger. The forum needs to have some real clout in persuading the government to create a workable version of the Health and social Care Bill and not just tweak a few headlines.
If only there could be some way we could co-opt a few extra members to the forum. In a perfect world where time travel would be needed for some of my nominees – the following would be my choice for the leading lights of this ‘engagement process’
Albert Einstein: No-one could pretend that rescuing and re-working the reforms is going to be an easy process so we need a sharp mind on the job.
Joseph Lister: The father of antisepsis. Some hospitals still need to clean up their act.
Claire Rayner: Nurse, journalist, agony aunt and patient advocate supreme, who left this message to be issued after her death last October ‘Tell David Cameron that if he screws up my beloved NHS I’ll come back and bloody haunt him’
Aneurin Bevan: The founder of the NHS – to make sure the forum remembers the basic principles of the state provision of health.
Henry Kissinger: Negotiator and diplomat – perhaps he could apply the skills he used to pioneer détente between the
US and the Soviet Union to ensure peaceful and constructive discussions.
Lord Robert Winston: Professor, Medic, Pioneer and highly intelligent commentator with a non confrontational, level way of voicing his opinions with exceptional eloquence and good sense.
David Cameron: First hand knowledge is so much more powerful than diluted, rehashed second hand reporting. He can listen for himself instead of hearing someone else’s version of the forum’s views.
If only this dream team could renegotiate the re-working of the NHS reforms, I think that I, and probably many more, would feel a lot happier as the ‘pause, listen, reflect and improve’ process continues.