For the next financial starting 1 April 2007 the budget to run the National Health Service will be £100 billion pounds. The number of staff in the NHS is around 1.3 million people.
I am not one of the many people who knock this government about the state of the NHS.
People have short memories. When Tony Blair first came to power in 1997 there was a massive listening exercise when professionals and managers in the NHS were asked to tell the government about the problems faced. The message went back to the Government that there was a desperate need for more money in the NHS.
This government- true to its word - has ploughed more money into the NHS than any government in history but when the money was given it was conditional that having listened to the professionals the government would expect delivery for the massive extra investment. That sounds fair to me.
And yet we still hear the NHS is in danger of falling apart. I don’t believe that and I still think existing money can be used far more effectively in the NHS with some brave leadership.
I have seen huge improvements in the NHS in the last 10 years. OK it is still far from perfect but before leaping to blame the government I think the NHS needs to have a good look at itself and ask how the additional money has been managed in the last 10 years.
Imagine now just for moment that Richard Branson was running the NHS with £100 billion pounds turnover and a sales force of 1.3 million people - do you think it would be a more efficient organisation than the current NHS? – I do
My question is – is this simply about leadership?