The public still have high levels of trust in doctors as a profession, but we must not take that trust for granted […]
Category: David Oliver
David Oliver: Closing more hospital beds—the policy zombie they couldn’t kill
During the silly season over Christmas and New Year, NHS England Chief Nursing Officer Jane Cummings gave an interview to the Daily Telegraph. She advocated better investment in community and primary care services to allow more people to stay well, remain in their own homes, and return home sooner after acute illness or injury. Amen […]
David Oliver: A dispute played out via soundbites and spin cannot end well for services
I write this a few hours after the BMA agreed that it would take up the offer of renewed contract talks with the government, brokered by the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges. The government have in turn agreed a temporary suspension of imposition. PR has coloured the whole saga of the contract stand-off. What had […]
David Oliver: Are we recreating the conditions that led to the Mid Staffs scandal and Francis inquiries?
I am worried that we are heading right back to the very conditions that led to the Francis inquiries, losing any progress we have gained on the back of them. In health, as in many industries, it often takes a major incident or scandal to prevent more from occurring in the future. But let’s not […]
David Oliver: An ideal minister?
I’ve been thinking a lot recently about MPs doubling as ministers of state politically responsible for key public services. What are the characteristics of a good or bad one? I’ll start by saying upfront that while I understand the need for democratic accountability and oversight for large amounts of public money, even the system we […]
David Oliver: If you want to explain what’s happening in the NHS, just look at schools and teachers
Imagine you are a teacher or headteacher in a good enough local authority school in an area with its fair share of deprivation and a shrinking funding envelope. The school increasingly struggles to balance its books, yet it’s told to make further savings. You are experienced and good at your job. You chose and trained […]
David Oliver: Do bring me problems
In her book Smile or Die: How Positive Thinking Fooled America and the World, Barbara Ehrenreich brilliantly deconstructed this cult. Her starting point was her own diagnosis of breast cancer and the bullying attitude that if you don’t “fight” the cancer and stay “positive” in the face of distress and worry, then your demise is […]
David Oliver: Minding our language around care for older people and why it matters
I love to plough through the newspapers, with radio or TV news on in the background. My enjoyment can be punctured by annoyances. Recurring candidates for this personal “room 101” are ageist language and attitudes. Comparing 2015 with my youth, I’ve seen a welcome sea change in the language deemed acceptable regarding race, sexuality, or […]
David Oliver: Discharging patients from overcrowded hospitals—fewer “progress chasers” and more “doers” please
This year, urgent activity in English NHS hospitals has reportedly hit a record high. Officially reported “delayed transfers of care” (inpatients medically fit to leave, but awaiting community health and care services) have also peaked. These figures routinely underestimate the real number of people in beds whose needs no longer require the full facilities of the […]
David Oliver: The media narrative on quality in healthcare—helpful or harmful?
On 28 October, I was part of a Health Foundation and Nuffield Trust “Quality Watch” panel, speaking on the media representation of quality in healthcare. Truth be told, I had been on call for four straight days, then that morning my ward doctor had gone off sick, and it had been touch and go as […]