Following the Daily Telegraph’s revelations this week about the “lavish” expenses being claimed by NHS England’s top table, End Game was left wondering whether its chief Simon Stevens could have been handed a better opportunity to do what all new bosses do best: to draw a line in the sand.
The Telegraph’s revelations that nine NHS England big cheeses had racked up an expenses bill of nearly £200,000 broke just days before Mr Stevens was due to unveile plans for a new “transparency code”. Under this details of all meetings with organisations outside the public sector must be published.
Such news gave former UnitedHealth executive Mr Stevens’ the perfect chance to consign perceived excesses of the former regime to the dustbin of history.
By sheer coincidence, the story feeds jolly neatly into a narrative peddled by the Telegraph as well of some of Fleet Street’s other fine organs that only a good dose of private sector realism can save the NHS from a gravy train culture.
Complementary champers all round – everyone’s a winner, right?!
Well, not quite. For every man’s opportunity, there is usually a problem for some other unfortunate.
Tim.Kelsey, national director for patients and information, who already has enough work in trying to keep the Care.data project on the right track, could probably have done without being named as the organisation’s biggest claimant after filing £46,000 worth of receipts.
Mischievous rumours that most of Mr Dot-Kelsey’s receipts were all filed in pseudonymised form as part of an early pilot for the Care.data software, End Game understands, were considerably wide of the mark.