Monday, 20 February 2012

Is any of the Healthbill protocoligorically correct?

There’s a great line in The Slipper and The Rose, the Hollywood version of Cinderella, where the autocratic King announces ‘Kings don’t cheat – they adapt to circumstances!’

As David Cameron calls an NHS summit today, adapting to circumstances - or changing the rules as you go along - seems to be the modus operendi when it comes to The Health and Social Care Bill. Plans for this summit, called by the Prime Minister ‘to discuss the implementation of the NHS Reforms’ were leaked by the Health Services Journal on Friday and more details emerged via social media over the weekend. Firstly we hear that the Royal College of GPs hasn’t been invited. Then we find out that the British Medical Association (BMA), Royal College of Midwives and Royal College of Nursing are also snubbed. Spookily all these organisations have been vehement in their opposition to the Bill. There’s even a rumour that Larry, the Downing Street cat has been banned from attending this hastily called meeting as his support cannot be guaranteed…

Yet again the coalition PR machine have got it so wrong with the Health Bill. When I first read of the summit – my immediate reaction was positive - maybe Cameron is going to get the key players together not just to talk but to plan a workable way forward? And yet again I, and literally millions like me, have been let down. As the BMA so politely put it ‘It would seem odd if the major bodies representing health professionals were not included’. Considering previous form on this legislation, this is not odd at all. Restructure of the NHS has already started, without mandate. The future forum came and went but still the reforms have been pushed forward.  Consensus of key stakeholders appears to be neither required nor valued.

Downing Street have, in a move smacking of autocracy and not democracy, refused to release the invite list and have quickly re-positioned the summit as ‘part of an ongoing dialogue’ . Simon Burns, health minister continued that this was a meeting with ‘those constructively involved in improving the reforms’

Mmm … ‘ongoing dialogue’ appears to mean ‘think as I think, speak as I speak’.
‘Constructively involved’  translates to ‘those who are empire-building, currying political favour or stand to gain financially, professionally or personally from the reform without consideration of the greater good and the NHS as a whole’

The coalition have defied protocol throughout – which brings me to a song from the Slipper and the Rose, as the head of court questions the king about his tunnel-vision approach to leadership...

‘And when the treasure is tapped of it's treasures
Are the tapestries stripped from the walls?
No, the court carries on with it's pleasures
Inquisitions and banquets and balls

But they must be protocoligorically correct
Good form must never suffer from neglect
The rules and regulations we respect
Must be treated circumspect

Else the kingdom will be wrecked
We've a system to protect
Checked and double checked and protocoligorically correct’

Oh how I long for the NHS to be shaped in a protocoligorically correct way…and where is Prince Charming just when we need him?


Chairman Chegwin said...

"The coalition have defied protocol throughout"

Interesting statement and one that leads me to question whether we as a Department, being most closely associated with delivering the Government's agenda have actually provided the checks and balances and challenge back that are traditionally a part of the Whitehall "service" to ministers...

I'm not close enough to it all to judge but let us be clear that this failure of narrative, protocol and convention isn't just down to the Government (although they bear ultimate responsibility) - it's a failure of the Department of Health too.

Finchers Consulting said...

You make a very good point Rob - it's not like Andrew Lansley is making all the changes happen single handed... I'd like to understand more of David 'keep my head under the parapet' Nicholson's role in all of this...

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