Can Gerry Robinson Fix the NHS: One Year On
BBC2, Wednesday 12 December 2007
**** out of *****
It all started off so well.
Sir Gerry Robinson’s return to Rotherham General Hospital, a year after his last visit, showed an organisation gripped by positive changes.
Operating theatres were no longer deserted on a Friday afternoon, the chief executive has wrestled control from the consultants and consultants themselves were no longer complaining that management had bought the wrong type of gloves and sutures.
The hospitals many problems seemed to stem from a lack of communication and poor staff relationships – issues that could be fixed very simply.
But clouds remain on the horizon. Robinson was scathing about the delayed NHS programme for IT. His cheerful demeanour strained by repeated illogical procedures. “What is staggering is the sheer amount of money wasted,” he said, equivalent to employing 60,000 nurses for ten years.
Robinson was also bamboozled by the government’s policy to increase the amount of services provided “in the community”. “Isn’t the hospital part of the community?” was his mantra.
Not enough, according to Rotherham Primary Care Trust, who are building a £12 million “Polyclinic” for people who, in the words of its chief executive, “feel a bit iffy”. “What the hell is this thing going to do,” - apart from creating more competition for hospital services - was Robinson’s underlying message.
Robinson was an entertaining host, clearly passionate and motivated by his time in the NHS, but also demoralised by its chronic slowness and bureaucracy. But can Gerry Robinson fix the NHS? From this evidence, it’s far beyond the efforts of one man.
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