Normally, the crises come in the Winter but such is the weak state of NHS finances that alarm bells are being rung in the Summer recess from Parliament.
Once again, the strategic weaknesses of the NHS are being highlighted.
Irrespective of your politics or bias, the NHS is not sustainable. According to the Guardian article the current year’s financial plan cannot be attained.
When I was mid-career, I took some time out and completed a part-time doctorate in three years. My doctorate examined the Japanese approach to strategic cost reduction and to what extent this best practice had been transferred to top private sector companies in the UK. Some years later, I spent about five years in the public sector, UNESCO in Paris and UK public sector organizations – here I pondered the applicability of Japanese and wider private sector best practice to the public sector. What I found was a complex context, with multiple stakeholders, all fighting for their own best interests. For a good insight open this highly popular article on adopting shared services in the UK local authorities. For another interesting insight look at how Australia is ready to shorten the approval process for new drugs.
Sadly, the UK’s NHS and other vast public sector organizations will not reform, until there is a comprehensive independent review of performance against best practice. I suggest that this needs to be done by an independent team, outside of the ‘conventional advisors’, like big consulting firms or UK universities. The stature of the review needs robust terms of reference, and their findings must not be watered down by the political classes. George Osborne was canny enough to poach BoE governor, Mark Carney, from Canada. Perhaps, we should follow Angela Merkel‘s excellent example and look for a team from the IMF?
Let me pose this as an open question:
Should UK Chancellor, George Osborne, invite the IMF to conduct a special competitive review of the UK public sector?