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NHS ‘manager bashing’ ‘explains’ health service issues

The government’s ‘manager bashing’ in the NHS is an attempt to ‘explain’ the problems facing the health service, one leader has suggested.

Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the NHS Confederation organization which represents NHS services, said a decade of austerity, workforce and capital funding had led to problems within the NHS.

But the ministers “looked for other culprits”, he suggested.

Last week, a major review of NHS management was published and Health Secretary Sajid Javid pledged to review the management of health services.

Messenger’s review, led by former senior officer General Sir Gordon Messenger, concluded that there was an “institutional deficiency” in the way leadership and management in the sector were formed, developed and valued.

The review found evidence of “bad behavior”, including discrimination, bullying and cultures of blame.

Although Mr Taylor widely praised the content of the exam, he told the HSJ (Health Service Journal): ‘If you can’t recognize that the fundamental reasons (why) we face this yawning capacity gap are linked, in particular, to the decade of austerity, but (also) other failures to address capacity issues like labor and capital, so you have to look for other culprits and you end up by bashing the manager and talking wokery because it becomes a way to explain the reality that patients and the public sees.

Speaking ahead of the NHS ConfedExpo conference in Liverpool, Mr Taylor also dismissed Mr Javid’s recent suggestion that the NHS does not need more money.

“We need to recognize that over the next decade we will need our spending to increase by 4% per year in real terms due to the aging of the population and the catch-up we need to achieve. We need to increase capital investment…and develop an urgent workforce plan,” he said.

It comes as the organization released a new survey revealing concerns about the crumbling state of NHS buildings.

The NHS Confederation said more capital funding was needed to upgrade dilapidated buildings, patient transport fleets and IT systems.

A survey of 182 NHS leaders in England found nine in ten believe their efforts to reduce the size of the waiting list are being hampered by a lack of investment in buildings and assets.

A South East primary care clinical director told the NHS Confederation: ‘We work in a 1950s tin-roofed health center serving 34,000 patients with no capacity to deliver 21st century healthcare. Our ability to meet patient expectations and political promises is impossible unless significant investments in infrastructure are made.

Two-thirds of executives who responded to the survey said they did not have enough capital funding to meet “digital ambitions,” including rolling out electronic patient records

Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid has pledged to review the management of health services (Peter Byrne/PA)

Mr Taylor said: ‘The huge sinkhole in the NHS’s capital budget, combined with a decade-long underinvestment in property, infrastructure and IT systems, has left the NHS with dilapidated buildings , significant maintenance backlog and limited potential to maximize the use of digital technology. .

“The government must urgently release the capital funding that has already been pledged so that work can finally begin across the country on new construction, as well as addressing the maintenance backlog.”

Ministers must also invest more in the upcoming spending review, he added.