What the NHS really needs

A report in today’s FT suggests that the savings from the government’s latest NHS reorganisation will be quite a lot lower than promised.  That does not come as a great surprise.  Every NHS restructure is costly and time-consuming.  As they happen every few years it means, as one senior manager told me, that as soon as the new organisations it creates are mature and actually achieving something they are abolished in favour of a different configuration.  And back to square one we go.

It is not that the current changes and the many previous ones do not make some sense or have not contributed to some improvements.  My experience is that NHS Trusts are far more focused on efficiency, for example, than they once were and the separation of commissioning (Primary Care Trusts at the moment) and provider functions (hospitals, community health staff and so forth) may have helped to achieve that.

But restructuring never delivers what is promised because it cannot.  Continue reading

Talk is far from cheap

Every Sunday evening I gather with a small group in Church and talk about stuff.  It’s always one of the best bits of the week.  I think it demonstrates the power of community and value of community.

In my last post I referred to my lack of engagement with the typical Church of England Sunday morning fare.  Though my theme was the power of taking the Church’s words out into ‘the world’ I acknowledged that the Church could do more to bring the words to life in its own context.

So I thought I’d add a word about my own favourite service, the six o’clock eucharist at St James in Weybridge.  The format is a simple spoken conventional communion service attended by anything between 5 and 20 people.  It has a generally informal feel, but its distinguishing feature is the simple innovation of holding a discussion where there would normally be a sermon.  Continue reading

Take the word out into the world

Last Saturday I had what was for me, a unique experience.  I conducted a wedding and went to the reception simultaneously.  Actually it was a service of dedication following a civil ceremony, but that doesn’t sound so good.  This service took place in a marquee in Ade and Sarah’s garden.  The guests, including me and my wife Annabelle, rocked up, were served Pimms, and after some chat in the garden, were all ushered to our places in the marquee.  All the guests sat at their places at the tables, having taken their drinks with them.   I went to the stage at the front and awaited the arrival, in procession from the back of the tent, of the bride and groom. Continue reading