We may not have published a newsletter since June but the blogs abound. Over the summer, the creativity and productivity of Partners ( and one in particular – the indefatigable Andrew Craig) has produced a bumper crop of posts addressing the topical, the public and the personal at home and abroad – all active issues in the world of public engagement, healthcare costs and reform and good old complaint handling.
Who are you going to call?
Back in June we were reminded of the power of the personal anecdote – link – and picked up on what remains the most used way of contacting health services – 999 is now embedded in the national consciousness as the number to call. Can we be weaned off 999 in favour of numbers such as 111?
Find out about ‘Thought Bubbles’
Telephone access and response was not on the list of comparators in the recent row about comparing NHS and US health care – cost was the main bone of contention. Rachel Piper (Caroline Millar’s daughter) pointed us in the direction of a great website where the US debate about healthcare is summarised wittily and pithily. Take a look – short and fun which is more than you can say about most of the interventions in the health debate especially when national pride is involved.
Forget Global Warming – Prepare to get cold
Undaunted and perhaps indeed inspired by this technological tour de force, Andrew’s blog about future NHS financing floated off in a cloud of meteorological and geophysical images – what happens to the NHS climate when the warm Gulf Stream of funding is switched off? Answer: the NHS becomes Labrador. Not a dog but that chilly island unvisited by the Gulf Stream. This makes making the health service more efficient even more important – there is money that can be saved not by firing and closing but getting all in the NHS to perform as well as those in the top quartile. Beyond that, it is time to address the fundamentals:
- what is a health system for?
- who should own it? and then and only then
- how should it be paid for?
Best Practice Customer Recovery
If you are feeling that you may drown in this sea of debate – be it warm or or be it freezing – Caroline Millar’s piece about the modern art of customer recovery as practised by Eurostar will be straightforward and encouraging. Read all about how Eurostar complaint handling turned her into one of the company’s greatest fans.
They do things differently in Wales
The NHS is notorious for not paying much attention to what other people are doing and for its slowness in absorbing best practice from elsewhere. For all those engaged in user representation in health and social care, there are lessons to be learned in Wales where Community Health Councils have survived to become a key ingredient in the future development of NHS Wales. Andrew identifies the key ingredients for success for “CHCs Mark 2″ in England. .
Leadership is one theme that recurs frequently in any discussion of successful change and improvement. So we finish by raising a question asked by Colin Adamson prompted by the regime changes at both the Office of the Information Commissioner and the Financial Services Ombudsmen where both Richard Thomas and Walter Merricks have already or are moving on.
New Leaders Needed
Under the heading ‘Ubi Sunt?’ we wrote in July:
Just a few weeks ago, we blogged about Richard Thomas throwing off his crusader cape as the Information Commissioner and now Walter is handing in his SuperOmbuds costume. Last week I attended a leaving party for Allan Asher ex-head of Energywatch and chair of the BSI’s Consumer and Public Interest network just before he headed back to Australia. Ou sont les consumer heroes d’antan? More to the point. Ou sont les consumer heroes d’avenir?
If you know of any, we would be interested to hear who they are. Self-nomination is fine.