Love the NHS!- Healthcare EXPO 2013

A bit like NHS reforms..
Make a BIG exhibition of yourself

The NHS has been in the news a lot lately here in the UK. Well, it always is actually, but we have had an extra spotlight on it just recently after the Francis report was published which exposed some terrible neglect in hospitals which were pursuing targets at the expense of caring for patients. My line of work (one of them anyway) is trying to get people to make healthier choices about how they live their lives to prevent them from ending up needing medicine in the first place.

The Healthcare Innovations EXPO 2013 was at the ExCell centre in London which is a humongous exhibition centre way out in the East End of London. Getting there from Newcastle was a bit like a trek to the South Pole, a long cold journey for not much promise of reward. Working in the NHS through the maelstrom of changes that have been inflicted on it just recently does remind me of that classic Ernest Shackleton advert when he was recruiting for his Arctic adventure. You will certainly need to be made of stern stuff to see this expedition through..
I found the Healthcare EXPO quite a bizarre experience. There were lots of companies trying to flog technology to the NHS and lots of seminars talking about Innovation and how you should do it. Lots of management speak, the kind that was au courant fifteen years ago in the private sector from such luminaries as Tom Peters, but is only just filtering through to public sector world.  Toyota have a great production system for making cars you know. Hey why don’t we make our healthcare system like a car production line – what a great idea! The two are so similar after all. Replacing a hip is just like remodeling a car chassis isn’t it? The keynote speech was given by the man of the moment NHS Chief Executive David Nicholson who is currently in more hot water than a tea bag.

I’m going nowhere

The Daily Mail (and quite a few others) are intent on taking him down and getting him to resign over the Mid Staffordshire hospital scandal (many patients needlessly died due to lack of care) His bullishness in the face of massive opposition is impressive if nothing else.  Then there was a speech by the current Health Minister Jeremy Hunt, who looks for all the world like Flashman out of Tom Brown’s Schooldays. Not that all our politicians are from the wealthy upper classes and went to public school or anything. He started going on about how we should be able to book our healthcare the way we book a holiday. Well I’d love an appendectomy a week on Friday followed by a gastric band in the school holidays if that’s ok with you.

Jeremy Hunt – anyone for cricket?

That’s the thing with the NHS though. It’s just a minefield of political footballs..