On 24 July I attended a presentation and Q&A chaired by the Government Healthcare Social Entrepreneur, Dr Phillip Lee, MP in respect of his cutting edge plan for revolutionising the healthcare system in his constituency.
The session was attended by around 60 people and I can remember thinking as I walked in the hall that the atmosphere was pretty congenial bearing in mind that the reorganisation and consolidation of healthcare systems is a very contentious issue. In the first part of the session, the audience calmly and rationally listened to Dr Lee’s engaging vision of how his constituency’s healthcare system should develop – the contents of which gradually elicited an increasing level of head-nodding and leaning forward in seats as participants eagerly digested the plan and rationale behind it. And during the Q&A which followed there was much support from individuals across the political, occupational and social spectrum. The plan made sense because Dr Lee and his office staff, Eva Kagan & Colette Conway, had taken a great deal of time and trouble in producing an innovative, riveting and user-friendly document explaining in great breadth and depth how the health service in his constituency should evolve.
Although c2500 years have passed since Confucius uttered his immortal words: “Tell me and I’ll forget. Show me, and I may remember. Involve me and I’ll understand”, it is an adage which still rings true today in the sense that it is no use just rambling on about your plans, you really have to involve your audience on all levels and that is exactly what Dr Lee successfully achieved – in person and in print. He produced a compact and structured ’NHS jargon’ to ‘Daily Mail-speak’ translation of a very complex issue which could then be swiftly read and understood by practically anyone. This was then followed by a clear, concise and riveting presentation of its contents which elicited logical questions and comments. Thus Dr Lee’s conscientious efforts to engage his constituents prior to and during the session saved a lot of time and frustration across the board.
Dr Lee’s report is of the appropriate length and sans the mindless, patronising and truly laughable jargon and fluff inherent in many government and corporate reports I have had the frustration of reading over the years. And I believe the report left the reader in no doubt that ‘rippin’ it up and startin’ again’ ie building a brand new NHS infrastructure really is our only option and having worked in the NHS as a management accountant, I totally support his view.
In essence, Dr Lee’s vision of his new constituency health service is a ‘hub and spoke’ model - the concept of which was logically broken down, clearly explained and backed up with hard data. Basically, the hub and spoke model comprises 1 super hospital which is the axle from which clear and neat operational lines fan out to community services. As things stand, the health service in Dr Lee’s constituency comprises a fragmented collection of hospitals and community facilities – some of which are not even fit for purpose. By that I mean that they were built at a time when there was little or no sophisticated appreciation of the relationship between space planning and occupational processes. In one hospital, for instance, the patient has to be wheeled into the open air to get to the operating theatre! Across the UK, it’s a similar story with the exterior and interior shape of the healthcare infrastructure resembling one mighty, congealing plate of ‘spag bog’. There are innumerable problems associated with such an infrastructure which are gradually bringing the whole service to its knees and will be discussed in this section in the coming weeks, along with Dr Lee’s innovative solutions.
Fortunately for Bracknell, Dr Lee has a healthcare social entrepreneur’s mind rather than that of a politician and with his increasing success in engaging his constituents, I am certain he will achieve his goal of creating ‘The Royal Thames Valley Hospital’ in the near future. So watch this space!
Dr Lee’s report can be found at: http://www.phillip-lee.com/wp-content/uploads/the-royal-thames-valley-hospital.pdf