NHS Confederation announces new policy forum to help NHS speak strongly to Government

Published on Thursday, 09 February 2012 15:13
Posted by Scott Buckler

NHS Confederation chief executive Mike Farrar announced today the creation of a new policy forum to allow its members an authoritative platform to speak for the NHS on new policy

The NHS Confederation unveils today its new policy forum to assert the voice of the NHS in face the of the huge spending and political challenges it faces.

Made up of senior NHS leaders across the country and from different parts of the system, the new Policy Forum aims to allow the NHS to speak strongly on the big strategic issues facing the service.

It will use these leaders and the organisations they represent to shape what the NHS Confederation says and ensure that the organisation's strategy and work programme properly reflect the priorities of the NHS.

It will aim to more fully complement the NHS Confederation's strong reputation for policy analysis and thought leadership with the practical knowledge and experience of its membership. The "why" and "what" of policy development will be much more clearly linked to the "how" of implementation.

The Policy Forum will strengthen the NHS Confederation's processes for listening to members, and will bring in perspectives from partner organisations representing local government, clinicians and patients.

As a result, members should see an assertive NHS Confederation that they genuinely recognise as theirs.

The Policy Forum will be chaired by NHS Confederation chair Sir Keith Pearson. The first meeting was last week and it has already asked the NHS Confederation to prioritise the following issues:

NHS Finances - In particular public understanding of the state of NHS finances and why current models of care must change.
Quality of care - Particularly responding to concerns about the issues of caring for older people properly and with dignity.
Taking the long view -  Focusing the healthcare debate on a ten-year timeframe rather than simply over electoral cycles.
NHS leadership - the NHS requires improved and different leadership to meet the challenges it faces. Old command and control must be replaced with more locally empowered and collaborative leadership.

NHS Confederation chief executive Mike Farrar said:

"This is a great platform for the NHS to step up and speak out about the challenges we are facing. We are currently facing one of the most serious financial squeezes the service has ever faced and we want to ensure that the leadership of the NHS can speak out about the big issues facing health care.

"In recent years it has been too easy to look upwards, sit back and criticise. It has also sometimes been too hard for people who were prepared to speak up, to be heard as constructive contributors to the policy debate. This has to change, and the NHS Confederation has a responsibility working with and to its members to change this. And we are determined to do so.

"We have to raise the public debate over health care beyond the narrow politics and centralist perspectives. This includes taking a longer term view, as other industries would do. Most reform actually takes much longer than five years to bed down and start delivering. The NHS must rise above the constant short term political ping pong and the end of year scrambling.

"Organisational and clinical management in the NHS are the back bone to its success. The new Policy Forum will put a powerful case to government that you simply can't discriminate between 'bureaucrats' and 'clinicians'. Good care is provided by skilled clinicians and managers working together as leaders of the NHS acting in the interests of patients.

"The NHS needs an assertive trade association working effectively to use the experience senior NHS leaders from all parts of the industry have to lead the debate over the way care is delivered and make sure the NHS takes responsibility for the service we wish to provide, and that includes getting the basics of care right for each and everyone of our patients.

"This is our opportunity to change the culture within the NHS that has proliferated over recent years and to establish a collaborative, intelligent, leadership approach that will be fit for the next decade."


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