NHS has suffered damaging ‘loss of experience’

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1st February 2011
Great Hall, Barts Hospital , Smithfield
SDU Conference David Flory, Chief Executive of the NHS Trust Development Authority, has said the current reforms have left the NHS without the management capability it needs.

Over 40% of senior NHS management professionals have lost their jobs or quit in the last few weeks, he said, and the result is the greatest “loss of experience” he has seen in healthcare.

Senior roles in clinically or financially challenged organisations (including hospitals) are getting harder to fill, he said, and the NHS no longer has enough people with “the requisite capability”.

Speaking to the Health Service Journal, Flory said that filling such roles was a major priority for the NHS Trust Development Authority.

The formal abolition of SHAs and PCTs on 1 April followed a year of their functions being wound down, with staff leaving in great numbers. NHS England claims its “running costs” have been reduced by 50% compared to the old system.

“The scale of the change and loss of experience is greater than I’ve seen in any reorganisation before,” Flory commented.

He also warned that “challenged” hospitals increasingly lacked leadership as their number increased. “In that sector the evidence shows us we have not got enough people with all the requisite capability.”

Coming at a time of increasing concern among doctors about the effects of provider competition on NHS services, Flory’s comments will be seen by many as showing that the Government intends to let struggling NHS providers be taken over or replaced by the private sector.