Kat Lay reports that “Troubleshooters will be sent into struggling NHS regions” in The Times 4th July. Denial extends to the generic management solution, rather than the philosophical discussion that needs to precede the solution – before hearts and minds of professionals are behind the changes needed. NHSreality predicts that, without this discussion, more, rather than less, trusts will need “troubleshooting”.. Interestingly Wales in not included – the whole Region and every trust in Wales is probably worse than each of the English Regions mentioned..
Troubleshooters are to be parachuted into failing NHS regions to bring them up to scratch in the first scheme of its kind, the head of the health service in England announced yesterday.
Three regions that have struggled to combat financial, staffing and waiting time problems — North Cumbria, Essex, and North, East and West Devon — will be put into the “success regime”.
Some of the hospitals in the areas are already in special measures, but NHS bosses believe that the problems in each are too deep-rooted for an individual organisation to be able to fix.
Instead they will bring those responsible for health and social care services in the area together to find solutions.
Later on, more areas may be brought into the scheme, which will be run by officials from NHS England, Monitor, the NHS Trust Development Authority and the Care Quality Commission.
Simon Stevens, the chief executive of NHS England, told the NHS Confederation conference: “We all know there are parts of the country that are in systematic imbalance, in terms of either their quality or the structure of their services, or their ability to make the money work. And they have been in imbalance for years, if not decades.
“We coined the phrase a ‘success regime’ rather than a ‘failure regime’ as a different way of having a structured intervention to put those places on to a sustainable footing.”
Moves such as switching chief executives or short-term bail-out funding had been “tested to destruction”, he added. “If these were the things that were going to succeed in turning around these parts of the country, they might have done so by now.”
Mark Porter, council chair of the British Medical Association, the doctors’ union, described the announcement of the regimes as a “dramatic intervention”. He said: “This unprecedented move underscores the abject failure of the Health and Social Care Act 2012 to address the underlying pressures on NHS services.
“The expensive and unnecessary reorganisation diverted attention away from the real problems facing the NHS such as the service co-ordination and chronic funding pressures. The need for this sort of dramatic intervention is likely to increase if the government continues to pursue its drive for yet more ‘efficiencies’, instead of properly addressing inadequate NHS funding in the face of rising demand for health and care services.”
Mr Stevens also told delegates in Liverpool that they should realise no more money was going to be pumped into the NHS this year, and that they would need to make services work within existing funding limits.
He added that health leaders needed to get serious about preventing health problems, and “rattle the cage” to wake up society on issues such as obesity.
He also announced that areas of the country that still used long-stay institutions for people with learning disabilities would be given access to a £10 million fund designed for their closure.
• A report by the Institute for Public Policy Research think tank released today recommends creating new NHS managers responsible for finding and promoting innovative treatments and technologies that could cut costs.
It also recommends an expanded role for the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence in assessing new drugs and treatments to make it easier for the products to be used by the NHS.