We set off early to meet David Nicholson, Chief Executive of NHS England, this morning. Timely. Two weeks before he stands down. It was foggy. The bus was full. An accident on the Westway creating a random/no knowledge/in the moment decision to jump off at Hillingdon and catch the tube to Great Portland Street.
This led to an unexpected coffee and potato bread space in a Brazilian cafe round the corner to NHS E Towers. An odd but good space. An unusual level of attention by the staff. A spontaneous touch of care and compassion… [And hey, if a couple of waitresses can do it…]
Jane Cummings joined the meeting to create a link between David Nicholson’s (Sir D? The Real David Nicholson?…) [I’m struggling here because a formal meeting is a different context to a curry ambush. I don’t want to be too inappropriately informal..] departure and the new Chief Executive.
Anyway. The meeting was one LB would have signed up to. Well on the NHS England side anyway. We talked, described, railed and ranted. We were listened to. David Nicholson was, as I expected given his twitter presence, a ‘cut through the crap’ kind of person. He held his hands publicly up over Mid Staffs last week. Whether this means anything to the patients and and families involved, I don’t know. I suspect for some (a lot, most? of them) it’s a case of too little, way too late. There is something about holding your hands up and admitting you got it wrong though.
The meeting. A lot packed into an hour. David Nicholson talked sense. Jane demonstrated understanding/empathy. At the end (after we’d shared our ‘draft’ view of what justice looks like for LB and other dudes, a draft version we’ll share here shortly) some ‘meeting Katrina Percy pressure’ crept in. We remain unconvinced as to why we’d want to do this but are happy to leave it that we’ll pipe up if this changes.
After another meeting, we wandered for a bit in the sunshine. And came across burgers and bananas in Covent Garden. A tasty alternative to another ‘Meeting….’ post title.