Behind the scenes...
It is not uncommon to hear the charge that the NHS has too many managers.
This however is not really a fair critique as it does not recognize what managers do to help keep the health system running. They carry out an important function that enables frontline doctors and nurses to do their jobs treating patients. Sadly, it is also a function that is often invisible to the public or indeed many health workers in the NHS. So, let me take you on a whistle stop tour of the managers in the NHS Vale of York Clinical Commissioning Group and what they do.
There’s Michael, Caroline, Natalie, and the finance and contracting team - who pay the bills, make sure there is enough money in the kitty, and ensure our clinics and hospitals get funded to keep running.
There’s Shaz, Victoria, Holly and Sarah who do the comms - making sure we communicate key instructions and information to our clinics, send out health advice to the public as well as get feedback from the public, and deal with enquiries from the public, media, and local politicians.
There’s Paula, Sarah, and the nursing team, who support the care homes, monitor the safety and quality of services, help organize our yearly flu immunization campaigns, and help make our safeguarding processes for vulnerable adults and children work.
There’s Laura, Jamal, Faisal, and Callie from our medicines management team who help make sure we make the best use of the right medicines.
There’s Shaun and Cari, our digital team, who help our clinics get laptops and software so that the doctors and nurses can work efficiently. They also helped get out portable tablets to care homes so that our GPs can communicate with care home staff and patients.
There’s Steph who helps general practices and services access funding to build clinic extensions or make improvements to their clinic buildings. She also helps sort out community equipment like wheelchairs for users.
There’s Gary and Alex working to improve our urgent care system, coordinating the efforts of our many partners involved in emergency care, help build resilience in the system and plan for the winter.
There’s Abby who is our legal guru who sorts out legal issues for us, but also helps coordinate our emergency response with other organisations.
There’s Carl Susan and Sheila who doggedly try to improve our mental health services, including better care for people with learning disabilities and severe mental illnesses.
There is also our complex health care team who help sort out care packages for some of our most vulnerable patients who have very complicated health conditions and needs.
There’s Fiona and Lisa working with our GPs, local authority partners and local charities to help coordinate what we do in the community for patients better.
There’s Jo and Michele and our admin team who help organize our schedules and meetings, as well as keep accurate records of meetings and decisions made.
There’s Caroline, Shaun, Andrew, and Annette, who work with our hospital partners to improve referral pathways and access to hospital services for patients.
There is our referrals support team who help make sure when patients are referred to hospital they get sent to the right specialist.
There’s David, George and our information analysts who help make sense of what is happening in our health system – without them we would be flying blind.
They all do much more than I have listed here, and there are many more key individuals I have not mentioned who labour behind the scenes to keep services running across a wide range of vital tasks.
Theirs is not a unique story but is replicated up and down the country behind the scenes. What they do may seem invisible to the public eye, but without them health services would falter, people who need care will fall through the cracks, services will become inefficient, and frontline services won’t get the resources they need. The work they do needs skills, expertise, and considerable effort as often the problems they deal with are tricky and complicated with no easy answers.
Here in the Vale of York we are truly lucky to have a wonderful team of talented and hardworking managers. I am struck by their values of integrity, professionalism, and public service, and how they all want to make a positive difference to people’s lives.
So no, the NHS is not over-managed. On the contrary, it needs good men and women such as these in the Vale of York, who continue to work behind the scenes to keep the show on the road and keep our NHS running.
Dr Andrew Lee
Exec Director of Primary Care & Population Health