Department of Heath Exclusive – Key Procurement Staff Resign

We’ve mentioned before the excellent daily newsletter from Roy Lilley, a highly experienced and respected figure in the UK health world. You can subscribe to it here and if you are interested in UK health matters at all, you should.

Anyway, earlier this week, he published this interesting snippet with regard to the Carter Report on health efficiency (which we featured here).

“I'm hearing - the Carter Report was finished off in a hurry; the 'model hospital' dreamed up on the back of a fag packet and the guy who came up with the efficiency index has quit”.

“The finished off in a hurry” bit is not a shock - we thought there was a surprising lack of detailed data in the report. There was clearly a political imperative to publish something, and it was also clear that Carter himself did not want the data used to beat hospitals around the head – but others involved with more political motives did want to do exactly that!

But what about the “guy who came up with the efficiency index” comment? We can tell you that he is Dr. Stuart Dailey, a super-bright owner of a Physics PhD, ex management and tech consultant and one of the founders of the ill-fated Peto business. He was behind the design of the national spend analysis system and the efficiency index for Carter, and will we suspect be a major loss to the Department of Health and the system generally.

We understand he is off to another central government department, which does beg the question “why”? (More understandable if he was going off to a software start-up with prospects of mega riches!)

Interestingly, in our researches around Carter and what is going on generally, we also discovered that the Department of Health (DH) is being hit with another key procurement departure. Rob Knott is off after over two years in the central procurement strategy team. He was one of the key architects behind the 2013 Procurement Strategy document, which we reviewed here reasonably positively.

He then worked on some of the implementation of that strategy, such as the Academy, with mixed success. Indeed, we can’t help wondering whether frustration with the rate of progress in terms of some of those initiatives may be one reason for his departure. We haven’t always agreed with all his ideas, but it has always been clear that he is someone who wants to drive change. More recently, we understand he was working on the future of the NHS Supply Chain contract, after it was announced that the contract with DHL would not be extended.

So what is going on in DH? Talking to some procurement leaders out in the NHS recently, they have not been over-complimentary about the support they are getting from the centre of the Department. That makes it a challenging time for Patrick Mills, the still relatively new Commercial Director. We wouldn’t blame him for past sins or omissions, but six months into the role, he needs to start making his mark. There is undoubtedly work that the centre can do to help deliver benefits across the whole system, but DH now needs to be really clear about what it can and will do, and then deliver against that.

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