Hannah Lowry finds out what drives Virgin Healthcare’s highest flier

This book was, in truth, a bit of a puzzling read. The “lessons” are really things that, as an NHS manager, you should already know.

However, I found Screw It, Let’s Do It interesting and entertaining, once I viewed it as an autobiography (albeit one that happens to be in rather a random order), instead of a business book per se.

There are reasons why it is worth those in healthcare gaining an insight into what makes Mr Branson tick. For example, this year Virgin Healthcare purchased 75 per cent of medical services business Assura Medical. Branson has also been a vice president of the Patients’ Association since 2008, and so remains an influencer in our field of work.

Aside from his hot air ballooning hobby, it is reassuring to learn that, surprisingly, he is not a man for taking uncalculated risks. Overwhelmingly he believes in having fun in business life. He tells us to employ “thinkers” and to look for the best in our employees so that they will flourish.

If we criticise or look for the worst in our employees, he says, “they will shrivel up… because we all need a lot of watering”.

Branson is clearly energetic and passionate about everything he does and, I believe, is determined to do his bit to make the world a better place. I finished feeling quite positive about the book and Branson himself. All in all, I think he could be good for our health.

Hannah Lowry is service reform lead for the acute primary care interface, NHS Trafford.

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