Blair McPherson was Director of Community Services at Lancashire County Council. He has worked as a Deputy Director in social services and as a senior manager in a large Housing Association. He has been a member of the Professional Executive Committee of three Primary Care Trusts and works closely with a range of organisations in the voluntary, community and not for profit sector. His management career started in Birmingham City Council where he acquired his passion for equality and diversity and his recognition of the need for high quality management. He is a regular contributor to the professional press with over 500 articles published. He is author of four books An Elephant in the Room: An Equality and Diversity Manual, UnLearning Management: Short stories on modern management , People Management in a Harsh Financial Climate and Equipping Mangers for an Uncertain Future published by www.russellhouse.co.uk
Blog Posts (239)
Combine the business know-how of the private sector with the social ethos of the public sector
Governments have a history of imposing what hasn’t quiet worked in one area of the public sector on to another
What’s the real agenda at all expenses paid health conferences?
Whether at the World Cup or in your office, leaders are not always good team players
With a vote on the way, no any party will allow the NHS to struggle more than it has too
Blair Mcpherson contributes to:
It's a hard lesson for chief executives to learn but the reality is they don't make a lot of difference to how services operate day to day. Which means they can't have much impact on quality in the short term. They can of course make things much worse by imposing reorganisations which disrupt services, demoralise staff and distract managers. They can reduce staffing levels, change the skill mix to have more unqualified staff and cut back on training in an effort to be more "efficient". So I am heartend to read that this group recognises that they should not believe their own propaganda and that the emphasis is shifting from the previous focus on the money.
There is nothing wrong with recycling ideas and "empowering staff" is certainly not knew but there is a big difference between going under cover to find out what its really like and implying that simply by listening to staff managers will be able to deliver on budgets, performance and care. Empowering is more than listening it is giving power, sharing decision making. "Empowerment" is overused, discredited and a bit of a con. It usually means we will inform and we will listen but we will still decide. I am all for informing and listening but I thing to talk of empowering is to imply a shift of real power which on past experience is if not dishonest then misleading.
Commissioning is part of a tighter budget control process with in the NHS, a process that is not driven by an assessment of need but is finance led, it's about what we can afford, economies of scale and encouraging the private sector where they say they can do it cheaper.
Comment on: Happy staff mean a healthy business
In the long term particularly in the carding business then happy staff may well lead to a healthier business but in the short term in a climate of budget cuts, redundancies and proposed mergers fear seems to be effective. Of course that is assuming you regard health care as a business.
There are a lot of questions the NHS has yet to find answers to. Should Commissioners continue to use a Trust that is in special measures? If they withdraw their support the Trust is no longer financially viable. If they continue to commission services from the Trust despite a damming inspection report then what was the point of introducing a commissioning led NHS? How does a Trust get put of special measures? Is it inevitable that the chief executive, chair and most of the board have to go I order to restore confidence? This looks like another case of balancing the budget and making the efficiency savings at the expense of undermining the confidence of staff that the Trust is genuinely committed to providing even an acceptable level of care. But is this increasingly an impossible ask? What does the government really want the CQC to do , light touch resulted in unacceptable and dangerous care in depth tell it like it is reports seem be equally unwelcome and problematic! Are Trusts to be run as business or should the NHS be practise led rather than finance driven?