David Nicholson – the man who believed in becoming ruthless with the NHS

At a time when there was no actual-phrase growth in overall health spending, 168 NHS organisations have been closed down – and 211 new ones created. Some of the Kafka-esque consequences are only now emerging: this kind of as 4,000 health employees made redundant, with regular pay out-offs of £43,000, before currently being rehired by the NHS. All 48,000 senior men and women in the NHS felt the force of the changes and not all had been content with the Nicholson technique. “The downside of grip is that if the grip is round the throat, it does not leave a lot area for manoeuvre,” claims Mr Dorrell.

Sir David says accusations of his bullying are unfair, then turns to the press officer in the corner and roars: “You wouldn’t say I was a bully would you?” The Nicholson reputation for command and control goes back to his pupil days at Bristol Polytechnic when he joined the Communist Party. He did so because the communists were the only student group ready to welcome refugees from the Pinochet dictatorship in Chile.

But it was the Right-wing Tory Enoch Powell who set youthful Nicholson on the path of modifying the encounter of the NHS. In 1961, Powell, then wellness minister, announced programs for a 50 per cent minimize – 75,000 beds – in the country’s psychological asylums, saying: “If we err, it is our duty to err on the side of ruthlessness.” In the Seventies, 1 of Sir David’s initial jobs was to shut mental hospitals in Yorkshire with money from a so-referred to as alter fund. In his last years with the NHS – tomorrow is his final day – he has yet again been closing hospitals as well being care is moved into the local community. A alter fund of £3.eight billion will be utilised to pay out for added GPs, district nurses and specialist units. Sir David says more will be necessary – some £5 billion a year for many years – to cope with an ageing population and advances in technology. “We need to have gutsy political leadership,” he says. “Beware politicians who say we can muddle by means of.”

Right now, it is more and more officials and not just politicians who are blamed when items go incorrect. Sir David has determined to go simply because the Mid Staffs hospital scandal “created some baggage all around me”. He had been in charge – only for eight months – of the strategic overall health authority that integrated Mid Staffs. When he resisted calls to resign, he was dubbed “the man with no shame”. Nowadays he “bitterly regrets” not going to meet the households of people concerned, but nevertheless believes it would have been “irresponsible to walk away”. As he leaves Whitehall, the dilemma of who should be accountable for what continues to be a pressing issue.

Lavish leaving do

Sir David’s departure has been marked by tips of lavish partying, like a dinner costing £12,000. Mentioned one particular insider: “I really do not know the total value but we have been all asked to pay out £195 to go to the dinner.”

“You need to by no means organise your personal retirement party,” mentioned Sir David. “We had a reception at St Thomas’s for 350 men and women, but it was all paid for by my colleagues. There were 60 or so individuals at the dinner and that was organised and paid for by colleagues.”

Loved ones guy

What is he going to do now at 58? Join the international speaking circuit to talk on his “passionate belief” in socialised medication? He will certainly spend much more time with his loved ones in Worcestershire. He and his 2nd wife have a daughter, Rosa, who is only 14 months outdated. “Even I’m not going to live permanently,” he says. “So she’ll devote a whole lot of time with out me!”

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