NHS managers face the flak again

8 Jun 00
Embattled National Health Service managers faced another dose of bitter medicine this week as they were accused of being their own worst enemies when it comes to change.

09 June 2000

Speaking at a conference on June 6, Roy Lilley, a visiting fellow at the management school of Imperial College and former NHS trust chairman, accused managers and health care professionals of having entrenched views and criticised their territorial approach.

Backing the comments of Health Secretary Alan Milburn earlier in the day, Lilley said it was time that managers 'came into the real world'. A vocal advocate for reform of the health professions, he said: 'People today have much higher expectations about what level of service they want. In an age when we can go shopping 24 hours a day and apply for a mortgage on the Internet, the attitudes and approach of the NHS look increasing archaic.'

Earlier in the day, at a New Health Network conference in London, the health secretary had warned managers to embrace further radical reform or risk losing the respect and trust of the public.

Milburn said: 'For those of us who do believe in the principles of the NHS, the question is no longer whether we need to reform, but by how much and how quickly to remove its systemic weaknesses which are a hangover from the world of 1948.'

Reiterating government support for national standards, Milburn said the NHS had never had clear guidelines: 'The national plan will include a commitment to work with doctors, nurses and managers to develop clear national standards so that patients everywhere get the first-class service they deserve.'

But money was not the only answer, Milburn said. 'We have more money invested than at any time in its history, but now we stand just as ready to defeat poor performance in the NHS as we are to defend the sound principles of the NHS.'

It is a stance that has been welcomed by the NHS Confederation, which has called for an overhaul of jobs, careers and how outpatients and referrals are dealt with.


Did you enjoy this article?