Professor David Hunter is right to highlight the scale of the management task in delivering NHS modernisation (news, page 3, 11 March).
But talk of a management revolution should not imply that NHS managers' efforts are currently off-target. That would obscure the areas of management focus on which Professor Hunter so rightly argues that NHS managers should concentrate, namely:
strengthening good networks;
strengthening trust in the NHS and its structures;
restoring a true sense of public purpose.
In many ways, NHS management is currently ahead of private sector management. As we were ahead of much of the private sector in outsourcing to improve efficiency, we now have the lead in 'managing through influence' to build trusts and good networks.
NHS managers have for many years achieved management goals through persuasion, not coercion. We have invested energy in building good networks to win and maintain the support of stakeholders inside and outside the NHS, and now need to take the opportunity to network effectively, think about the big issues that face the NHS and stimulate thought on radical prescriptions to deliver the modernised NHS that everybody wants.
Guy Boersma and Peter Wallace
New health network co-ordination team