I have been to many national events discussing why the NHS needs to change. Arguments revolve around the 'burning platform' of financial challenge, demographic pressure, system reform and scandals. Very few have put forward propositions as to how the change should happen or what a future NHS should look like. Even fewer have celebrated what is good and the little miracles of kindness, compassion and care that we perform every day. Both are essential if we are to protect something as precious as the NHS.
The original 'burning platform' involved jumping into icy waters from a dangerous height to evade the flames on a rig. When asked why he jumped, the survivor said 'better probable death than certain death'. Is fear how we want to drive change in the NHS?
Helen Bevan argues convincingly that fear is not a good driver of innovation in her work on the NHS Change Model. We need a shared set of values and ambitions at the heart of progress.
A 'burning ambition' has the power to ignite the passion, professionalism, energy and commitment of staff across the NHS and social care. In Leeds, our burning ambition is that we are city where health inequalities are reduced and health outcomes are improved. This means radical reinforcement of what is good in healthcare and radical change too.
I believe we have the expertise and potential within our teams to make this a reality. By working together we will: develop healthy places to live; focus on outcomes agreed with patients and families; support as many people as possible to self care and self manage; capitalise on list-based general practice as the cornerstone of care; deliver joined up services in communities at scale, using our social care, NHS, voluntary and private sector teams, with care at home as the default; and make Leeds an innovative global hub for health informatics.
This means significant change that will touch every member of staff. Given a choice between this and the icy waters of the North Sea, I know which I would choose.