The power of remaining cautiously optimistic about the NHS
A couple of weeks ago I was privileged to spend some time talking to Rob Webster Chief Executive of the NHS Confederation about the big challenges the NHS is facing. Click here to view the interview.
Rob has now decided to return to the front line/ sharp end/coal face and we wish him all the best . The NHS needs those like Rob who are "realistic optimists", and who are willing to not just talk about it but do it as well.
What do I mean by a realistic optimist? Well Rob has always in his quiet but passionate way stressed the things that while challenging about the current situation given him cause for hope and I really like that (especially in dark times like this when we are desperately looking for the last £10m down the back of the NHS sofa!)
Above all he has always seen the unique value and importance of the NHS workforce and the huge change that an engaged and empowered workforce can deliver. Ironically now more than ever with money being tight, we need staff who will see how small and big changes can be made and then get on with it .
Rob has also always had a strong belief in the potential of out of hospital services to be a vital piece of the solution to the "in hospital" deficits and service pressures. His background and experience of running integrated care teams in communities (before they acquired exalted Vanguard status) points to a bigger truth; some of what we need to tackle the new service challenges is not new, but it needs the right leaders to push through the organisational boundaries.
The final lesson I took from talking to Rob was his obvious focus and passion for patient centred solutions. With the waves of challenges breaking over providers and commissioners it is all too easy and understandable to lose sight of the very reason for the NHS and the need for change. Patients need more and better care, and if the current service cannot deliver it we have to change what we deliver so it does. Rob gets that and believes we have the people and a lot of the answers to deliver that changed service. Good luck Rob.