Our Predictions for 2014
The wave of increased transparency will get higher over the next 12 months. This is a good thing. Not because of bad press or top down institutional reactions. More positive because it is the public pushing to enquire and debate the quality of their local healthcare services. It should start to move us all towards a focus on quality, service and access.
One of the features of the NHS is its generation of ideas and new initiatives. 2014 will be another year of new ideas, rhetoric and grand planning. Much will come from the same old voices. It is inevitable that Simon Stevens first few months in office will cause febrile activity with the policy hacks, bloggers and think tanks. All of them looking for new things to discuss, tweet, and write case studies about.
A symptom of energies spent on policy and market development. Energy and focus for implementation is low. Don’t expect to see implementation at the vanguard of activity in 2014. Pre-election year will slow down the pace of change, fostering stability in provider markets particularly in marginal seats. Expect to see implementation as an outlier.
The service led ripple of nostalgia that crept in during 2013 will only get stronger in 2014. Faced with the NHS under perceived threat, many leaders in the NHS will long for the old days. When we all got along, when we had money, when health and social care was integrated. Can’t we go back to the good old days of monopoly provision, block contracts, centrally designed carve-ups?
Private Sector income in healthcare will increase. Accept they are here to stay, mainly because the Tories have built UK economic recovery upon private sector investment creating jobs. That is a policy decision you cannot reverse. So look outside the box.
See plurality as an opportunity to develop your own organisation, improve services and win. Seek value from your private sector partners. Not like for like replacement and capacity filling.
The NHS Confederation under Rob Webster will be newer, more accessible and social media friendly;
Better Care will be our new black, a triumph of the obvious;
NHSE will not block the market reform mind-set and new faces will emerge;
Say farewell to David Nicholson and by December 2014 you will have a different view of him than you have now.
Our hopes for 2014
NHS leaders raise transparency in their organisations because they can. Not through inspection fears or regulator instructions. They work with their own people to increase openness. They focus on quality and access and see that efficiency does follow;
NHS leaders see the policy debate as just that. A debate;
NHS leaders focus on the implementation of their key goals;
NHS leaders look to the future for solutions and embrace new ideas, disruptive innovation and technology;
We see the market development of the healthcare system in the UK as an opportunity to be better.
Our New Year Message
If you are in the business of delivering health services:
International comparisons of Healthcare systems in Cuba or Valencia are as much use to you in 2014 as an Appendix. If you find yourself regularly talking to one of your Surgeons about Swedish insurance systems instead of her/his RTT position then go and work in the Kings Fund;
Don’t wait for Simon Stevens to make a decision for you;
You can replace Simon Stevens (above) with any from Monitor, CQC, NHSE, TDA;
Procure private sector advice on the basis of implementation credentials and value;
Ideas are Easy. Implementation is Hard.