Last month, Professor Tim Briggs, the national director of clinical quality and efficiency at NHS Improvement, published a report in which he basically says the NHS does not deserve more money until we reduce inefficiency and deliver broadly similar outcomes for care happening in different areas.
Professor Briggs is currently conducting an audit of clinical efficiency across the system. He is also chair of Getting It Right First Time, a programme designed to improve clinical quality and efficiency in the NHS by reducing variations in care and outcomes.
You can argue that the NHS needs more cash but you can't say he's wrong about the inefficiencies and inequities in outcomes.
However, I would say he's trying to fix a problem from the same level of consciousness that created it.
Let me explain - a friend of mine is a chief operating officer at a major NHS trust. The trust asked its team to ‘transform’ outpatients. Did they get shared medical appointments? Teleconsults for follow ups? Smart data mining to identify patients in need of referral?
Nope, they got a more efficient outpatients department.
So poor old Professor Briggs is getting a hard time for stating the bleeding obvious, but it's not a solution of the magnitude required to actually fix the problem.
Our future lies in the creation of a mobile, interactive, individualised National Health and Social Care System (iNHS) for short, and that's a bigger solution to the bigger problem.
- Dr Chris Mimnagh is a GP in Liverpool and head of clinical innovation liaison and deployment at The Innovation Agency, the academic health science network for the north-west coast.