Systems hold key to next phase

by Caroline Clarke

15 May 2020

The NHS needs to build on the trust and mutual support it has developed across systems

It’s been a funny old week.  For me, it began with the screening of two special episodes of BBC2’s Hospital, which featured my organisation, the Royal Free. The camera crews were with us from when the UK went into lockdown on March 23, for a three-week period. So they witnessed the hospitals gearing up for the surge of Covid-19 cases, and all the stress that went with that.

We thought long and hard about doing the show, and in the end it was our staff who made the case. I hope people watch it. And I hope they think that it presents a fair and honest reflection of what happens in hospitals, how we’ve all responded to the Covid pandemic, and particularly what happens in intensive care units throughout the country. 

And I really, really hope that it encourages people to think about a career in the NHS.  Tell your friends.

We also celebrated International Nurses’ Day on Tuesday too, and, although from a distance, I hope our nurses felt loved and special.

I’ve seen the April financials – understanding the balance between our underlying cost base, and what is attributable to the Covid response has been fascinating and hair raising.  And, as I said last week, working out what we need to invest in next to ensure adequate infection control, and how on earth we are going to finance it, is really tricky. 

The only way to make these decisions is at a system level, so I’ve spent the best part of my time, like many of you I’m sure, having conversations across our integrated care system. We created a lot of trust and mutual aid during the early weeks of the Covid crisis. We need to build on that now to make sure we get the next phase right.

The final thing I wanted to do in this blog, is to thank the HFMA team again, for keeping the show on the road. Chief executive Mark Knight and the team are doing a great job in difficult, uncertain circumstances and their professionalism and creativity is something that, on behalf of the trustees and members, I want to thank them for.

The world is changing around us, and we are changing with it. Thank you.



Read all Caroline Clarke’s blogs written during the Covid-19 response