The NHS Confederation Conference is the most high profile annual healthcare event in the UK. Every year, Chief Executives, Chairs and senior leadership teams from the most influential health care organisations attend the event. The Confed also attracts Government officials, Ministers and the national media. Potential private sector providers turn up to make contacts and it’s always a location for networking.
Last year the Confed attracted over 170 CEOs and over 140 chairs. It is this combination that makes it so interesting for me. Many people don’t just turn up, listen, and then forget about it after the train journey home. Some organisations come with a real agenda – to learn something to take back to the ranch.
I don’t usually have the time to attend the whole event and this year is no different, but on Thursday 21st I will be there for the whole day and speaking in two different sessions.
One of the sessions is actually named after the title of one of my blog posts from last year. The blog was the result of a session that I gave at a Conference on integrated care and was based on a phrase that so many session facilitators in the NHS use. At the beginning of the day’s work they gather together staff from the organisation for whom they are running the event and say “We are going to be doing some really difficult work today. But even though it’s hard I want everyone here to understand that the answer is in the room.”
My comment is that usually if you are doing something really hard, the answer is not in the room. Maybe a lot of the answer is in the room. But if you want to get the complete answer you need to leave that door at the back of the room open all the time. This allows that bit of that answer that is completely outside of the room to come and join us.
I have been asked to speak at a meeting with the title, “The answer is not in the room.” This involves speakers and business leaders from both inside and outside health care.
The speakers are Cindy Urbancic, Executive Director, The Cleveland Clinic, Rebecca George from Deloitte, and Tim Sheppard – Director UK Public Sector, Dell and myself. These people are both inside and outside the room so it will be interesting to see how an NHS audience interacts with them.
But before that I have what I think is an even more important meeting. This is a debate between myself and the excellent Nigel Edwards (with John Appleby from the King’s Fund holding the ring). The debate is about the finances of the NHS, post 2015. In reality, between the three of us, there is no disagreement about the problem. We all agree that what has been seen as a short term economic challenge organised around the ‘Nicholson Challenge’, is in fact a longer term problem which will probably mean that the NHS will need to recycle 5% savings annually for the foreseeable future. Those who can see beyond that future are saying it is likely to get worse.
So the debate will be about how the NHS needs to deliver much more value from current resources than it does at the moment. All of us will be militantly agreeing that this will be very hard.
I will be using the occasion to develop an argument I have been working out through this blog for the last 2 months or so. I will be suggesting that the NHS needs to develop new sources of value by allowing and then encouraging patients – especially those with long term conditions – to add new forms of value to their health care through their own and their carers’ hard work.
You can view and download my presentation on Slideshare at http://www.slideshare.net/Paul_Corrigan/the-nhs-beyond-2015