Remove the Political Reigns
As part of our ‘What If’ series on change in the NHS, we spoke to Nursing and Governance Specialist, Philip Kent and asked him: “Putting all politics aside, if you could change one thing about the NHS, what would it be?”
If I could change one thing…
I’d love for the NHS to be removed from political change. I know this is a Nirvana-like state but we can all dream. Over the past 25 years that I have known the NHS, there have been so many changes that have altered, abolished, re-organised or just shaken what is an amazing institution. Some of the changes the NHS has undergone have been well intentioned, like the introduction of general management in the 1960s, but others have been damaging, brought about in response to political fashions or to capitalise on the perceived public mood.
Most have been poorly thought out and have lacked the long-term understanding of the real impact that implementing the policy of the moment has on the people who really know the NHS inside out, its staff.
And it’s those people, the NHS staff, who have been the ones most affected by these changes. Great skill and experience has been lost through petty and unnecessary re-organisation. It has set this brilliant institution back so many years and has done untold harm to staff and their patients. This is not a swipe at government of any particular colour but at our system of a politically-led Healthcare as a whole. If we want to have an NHS as good as it is now in another 70 years, not only do we need to fund it properly and avoid the constant draining and unsettling annual battle for funds, but we need to remove its political reigns. We bend and change like the grasses in a summer meadow seemingly without disruption or impact. But the impact is very real, long lasting and damaging. Leave the NHS to the clinicians, managers and admin staff who love it for what it is – the best healthcare system for patients in the world!
Philip is a Deputy Director of Nursing and governance professional with over 25 years’ experience. Emergency nursing in particular has been a career-long interest for him and he led a number of departments before specialising in his other great passion, governance.
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