Michael Wood, local growth advisor, NHS Confederation @NHSLocalGrowth
Given the parlous state of the public finances it has always struck me as odd just how little the NHS understands about local government finance, and vice versa.
One consequence of closer cross-sector working is an introduction to our local partners’ very own jargon; it often feels like you are learning a new language mid-meeting.
It can’t be fun working in an NHS trust in special measures: constantly under the spotlight; a revolving leadership carousel; being told what you are doing wrong by scores of 20-somethings with spreadsheets.
Ask any NHS leader to name their biggest concern and, out of a pretty long list, they will probably say the workforce.
Metro Mayors are coming – does the NHS know?Subscription
Whether the change in season brings any light relief from the harsh winter pressures the service is facing is uncertain. What is certain is that we are now just two months away from a series of potentially very significant elections in six parts of England.
One of the themes that seems most pronounced early in 2017 is that of trust. Certainly there doesn’t seem to be much at the moment between Number 10 and the NHS leadership, but how are things locally?
Those hoping that Greater Manchester putting health and care at the heart of its devolution deal would spur innovation around health in local economic planning elsewhere probably feel rather underwhelmed.
Bricks and mortar have always played a key role in the transformation of health and care services, yet one common sustainability and transformation plan priority where the gap between ambition and reality seems particularly exposed is that of capital finance.
The NHS has always had an uneasy relationship with local democracy. Caught between the competing demands of the system’s centre and their communities, Sustainability and Transformation Plan leaders need to learn how to work with their locally elected representatives to maintain the equilibrium.