The business of fixing a failing NHS hospital by Mark Iliffe
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It’s great to read about a genuine NHS success story concerning the turnaround of Wexham Park Hospital in Berkshire. An organisation that was firmly in the “basket-case” category, condemned by CQC. The knights in shining armour that performed the rescue came in the shape of Sir Andrew Morris and team from Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust who led a takeover which resulted in a dramatic turnaround in performance.
There are a couple of really striking elements to this story. Firstly, Sir Andrew is a revered NHS personality who has led Frimley for over 25 years. To use the comparison of NHS Chief Execs being as disposable as football managers, Sir Andrew is firmly in the Sir Alex Ferguson mould. There’s something to be said for giving leaders time to be successful.
I was particularly struck by the following statement from Sir Andrew: “We were very clear about the order we wanted to do things. Get the culture right, get the safety right, then the performance and staffing, and the money last. If we’d gone in with the money being the prime driver you wouldn’t have seen the same result.”
This is a perfectly sensible business strategy; the type of philosophy majoring on great leadership, employee engagement and the development of robust process that has seen countless companies in the commercial world be successful. There is an obsessive paranoia within the NHS that anything with a hint of the business world is evil. The well-worn phrase: “creeping privatisation” is constantly wheeled out. Best practice from the commercial world should be embraced, not shunned. Looking at the make-up of the Board at Frimley, there’s a team of Non-Execs with a wealth of experience from leading blue-chip corporations; I am sure their influence is considerable.
Rather than obsessing about the amount of money required to fix problems which must feel like pouring water into a leaky bucket, the answer has to be to plug the holes first. Of course, back to the first point, many CEOs don’t get the time.
This article was published on http://daviddumeresque.blogspot.in/