I attended the Institute of Healthcare Management conference a couple of weeks ago and heard Mr Milburn talking about the key themes of the NHS annual plan. What are these themes? Can you help?
'Walkers', Whitehall Well, you are quite right to be concentrating on the annual plan themes. The plan will obviously have the most extensive strategic impact on the NHS since The Health of the Nation and Gerard Vaughan's Small Hospitals are Best green paper (the older ones among you might remember this from nearly 20 years ago. By the way, is there anyone still in the NHS who was in it in 1980? But I digress). The main theme is 'improving the patient experience' through the generalised use of anaesthetics in surgery and widespread prescribing of antidepressants - this is why NICE was set up.
However, the outpatient experience is important and this is where themes can have a major impact. I would suggest Ain't Complainin' by Status Quo.
Whatever you do, don't use Satisfaction by the Rolling Stones.
In addition to the patient experience comes 'improving the working experience' and 'making the NHS a good employer'. Phew! Where shall I start? The main strand here is 'family-friendly working'. This means getting the whole family to work for the NHS. Children are useful in intensive care because they can squeeze into the little gaps between the machines. Grandparents can act as stewards in A&E - this will also save transport costs because when they fall over they'll already be in the right place.
This is called 'joined-up government.'
Is there a Mayor for London? I seem to remember lots of hullabaloo some months ago, but nothing seems to have happened. What's going on?
Frank, Westminster Well. . . that Livingstone chap allegedly won - although personally I think the ballot was rigged - and for a while things looked very dangerous indeed.
However, as he now wants to re-join New Labour he's been behaving himself.
Canny Ken has spent a long time trying to find someone to run London Transport, and a very encouraging sign has been the recent appointment of a colonial to introduce new strategies and values, not forgetting enhancing the patience experience.