Friday, 30 October 2009

NHS culture opposed to Innovation?

This model was developed following lectures at the London School of Economics (LSE) - entitled "Innovating out of the Recession in the NHS". The speakers were Jim Easton, NHS National Director for Improvement and Efficiency, Dept of Health; Steve Barnett, Chief Executive, NHS Confederation and Prof. Patrick Dunleavy, LSE Public Policy Group. Mr. Easton is responsible for driving measureable improvements in service quality and productivity through the system. The meeting was chaired by Howard Glennerster, Prof. Emeritus of social administration at the LSE, holding various advisory positions to UK Government.

Despite significant funding and resource increases for the NHS over the last ten years, it has been insufficient to produce needed increases in productivity and quality. (dotted line). These are needed now to counter funding gap of £20B projected over the coming years. The theme of the lecture was the NHS culture and ethos which, it is claimed, is opposed to processes of innovation and change. Nothing less than a transformation is needed - gradual incremental downward pressure on prices and costs won't be enough. The cultural problem arises from a public ethos of mediocry, rather than excellence, and a passionate dislike and disinterest in service/process innovations over medical advances. Future models will focus on the interactions and root causes between culture and innovation.

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