The new NHS boss, Simon Stevens, on his first day said: “Successfully navigating the next few years is going to be a team effort, involving the biggest team in the biggest effort the NHS has ever seen.”  

‘Sometimes you have to ignore the sat nav when common sense tells you you’re going the wrong way’

When it comes to navigating your way around I just want him to bear in mind my recent experience. 

Driving around on holiday in Florida was made a lot easier by the sat nav we took with us, pre loaded with all our destinations,hotels, museums and restaurants. We thought it would be particularly helpful in finding our way out of Miami and through the series of spaghetti junction like motorway interchanges that surround the city.

Something wrong

After half an hour we started to doubt the confident voice directing us to “keep left”. We had left the city centre and found the motorway OK but we had yet to see a highway sign for our destination. We expected the journey to take about two hours. After an hour on the motorway we were convinced we were heading in the wrong direction and we were. It turns out that in a country as big as America there is more than one place with the same name. So it’s really important you get the right state. I should have realised that something was wrong when the estimated time of arrival was two days, not two hours!

We all have a similar sat nav story. Now here’s the thing, sat navs have replaced maps and our leaders no longer refer to the “road map” when describing where we are going and how we are going to get there. We rely on their confident voice to reassure us that we our still heading in the right direction. We know we need to trust what we are being told. Sometimes the route is not the one we expected, sometimes the quickest way is not the most direct and sometimes the directions are a little confusing but at this speed there is little time to think or question just follow.

But what happens when not every one agrees on the desired destination let alone the best way to get there? What happens when during the journey the destination is altered? What happens if delays on route force a rethink about whether another way may be quicker?

Sometimes you have to ignore the sat nav when common sense tells you you’re going the wrong way