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January 27, 2007

What is the Sound of One Wing Flapping?

butterfly.jpgListen, do you hear it? Has a balloon been pierced by a pin? Or is NHS Connecting for Health deflating? If so, how quickly and by how much?

Government agencies aren't the only ones to have felt a jab. The Guardian's Polly Toynbee in a jerkily argued article says underperforming GPs should be brought into the fold of the NHS (more interesting are the emotional arguments in the comments section that follows it). Also, in a recent TV program management trouble shooter Gerry Robinson turned his attention to Rotheram General Hospital where consultant medical staff apparently arrived late, left early and were never in theatres on Friday. Undoubtedly tensions between managers and clinicians are still with us.

Let's hope it's the sound of metamorphosis then. For with or without a national IT programme it is beyond debate that a 21st Century NHS must emerge as a system where humans and technology seamlessly interact. The real question is how that is to be created. Many of us who have worked in the NHS could have saved Gerry Robinson the walkabout by pointing out the problems. Maybe he could then have turned his talent to addressing them. That would have been interesting.