Yesterday afternoon I sat and listened to Jeremy Hunt the Secretary of State. My first thought – he is taller than I expected – and he stood at the front of the stage and delivered his speech without notes. Always impressed by politicians with this ability and as far as I could see no team to transcribe his every work for the record. Delivered with some style and honesty – along with a couple of stories and some thanks. All in all a good performance.
But what of the content? A little light on detail, a realisation that job tenure might be no more than two years and a concentration on limited areas – some expected but some surprising.
Dementia – yes I appreciate that care for people with dementia is not always good, but I was surprised that this disease was picked. He did say that he was advised not to champion a single disease, but continued to do so. Had he just come from a dementia conference – oh wait he actually had!
The big killers and to make sure that England climbs the tables on survival. An acceptance that performance is still poor compared to the big 15 of Europe and we must do better.
To embrace new technology and ensure that we introduce technology to support change. Interesting that he mentioned electronic ordering of prescriptions which is widely thought to significantly increase costs and wastage. I love technology, but in truth a lot of what I buy remains in a cupboard, so we should recognise that technology is only valuable when it solves a real and important problem.
Questions perhaps exposed the truth that he is still only a couple of months into office and either doesn’t know or doesn’t have the courage to and answer and offend. I don’t know how he deals so well with some very difficult questions and the usual group of self-interest silly ones. I appreciate the answer that if the audience felt that PBR got in the way then he wants to know and he will see if he can get things changed. Perhaps he will listen to real issues and play a part in the solution, lets hope so!
Still a nice focus on outcomes and the quality of care.
My conclusion – a nice start – from a politician who does not take himself too seriously, who does not want to micromanage and ends his speech with ‘don’t let me down’. All i can say is keep it up!