I have just been watching Sir Malcolm Grant speak about the appointment of Simon Stevens as the new head of NHS England. He talked about Simon being a global leader and he certainly is well respected on both sides of the pond. Unison are doing their bit to stir things up, worrying about American influences and privatisation (of course).
However Sir Malcolm didn’t repeat what he had said this morning on Radio 4 Today which got my eyebrows raised over my muesli “the NHS is living on borrowed time”.
Wow. That is quite a statement. Does he really think the NHS’s days are numbered? In its current form, many would agree – but that is very different from implying that it will go altogether. Simon (I am having to resist the urge to call him Sir Simon, but it can’t be long) has the difficult role of being the CEO whilst an awful lot of changes will have to be made. We do need to ask what the NHS is there for, and what role it should have in the years ahead. The public need to be told what they probably already know, that the NHS cannot go on doing everything for everyone. And Simon will need to preside over a sea-change in attitudes and activity. Unless and until we all become more involved in our personal and family’s health: monitoring, self-care, coordinating our medical and social care records, volunteering, self-pay etc the NHS will not be able to meet the needs to the most vulnerable who have no other option than to depend on professional services. So maybe the NHS is dead. But long live the NHS.