The Blog of
Nadine Dorries
You can see it from space...
Posted Monday, 4 April 2011 at 12:03

This interesting article appears on Conservative Home today and highlights the fact that David Cameron is to take responsibility for selling health reform.

As an absolute fan of the proposed health reforms, the fact that the Department of Health appeared to be talking to itself and had forgotten to engage
health care professionals, staff and the general public has been a huge concern to me for some time.

So much so, that I brought it up during the Health Select Committee last week and the transcript is posted below.

The answer just isn’t good enough and is very ‘departmental’.

I for one am delighted that the PM is taking charge of letting the nation know how the reforms are going to bring huge patient benefits. The provision of a ‘pathfinders’ web site is a woeful way for any department to expect to communicate health reforms which the NHS, CEO, described as being so big, you could see them from space.

Q493 Nadine Dorries: This is one of the problems with the Bill, Secretary of State. You know of those examples because of your role and your Department knows of those examples. But the question I am frequently asked by GPs is, "How does that work?" If I had a criticism of the Department in this Bill, my main criticism would be that you have not communicated very well these examples which you and your Department know about but GPs and their consortia don’t always know about. I had a conversation this weekend with a group of GPs. They can’t quite see the way through how some of it is going to work because it hasn’t been communicated to them terribly well.

Mr Lansley: It is a fair point. From our point of view, in a sense, the debate about how it is supposed to work is happening before we had expected to have created the learning network that shared precisely how people were putting these things together. In a way, when we started out, in March 2011 we expected there to be a small number of pathfinder consortia who were beginning to shape this. In fact, we have 177.

Nadine Dorries: A victim of your own success.

Mr Lansley: There is a tendency to expect the Department of Health to produce a document that tells them how to do it. The answer is that we are creating much more of what we think of as a learning network, the purpose of which is that they shape how this works.

Q494 Chris Skidmore: How is that learning network progressing so far? Is it internet advice and various officials giving advice on the phone?

Dame Barbara Hakin: Yes. The pathfinder network has taken off. We have 177 pathfinders. There is a range of things that are going on, but the key one that holds it together is the pathfinder network and website, which is growing in terms of its technical ability and its content by the day. We are very early-

Q495 Chris Skidmore: Do you have any data for how many people have logged on or clicked on to it yet?

Dame Barbara Hakin: I haven’t at the moment, but I would be happy to get you that.

Q496 Nadine Dorries: Is that just for GPs to use or is that for everybody to access, all health care workers? Who has access to that website?

Dame Barbara Hakin: Anybody could have access to the website. It is predominantly designed for pathfinders, but the pathfinders don’t have to say, "Only our GPs can log on to the website." Some areas of the website are open to anyone because we want the consortia who are not already pathfinders to be able to use and access it. I won’t pretend for one minute that that site is as we would want it to be. It is a relatively short space of time since the Bill was introduced and the enthusiasm and response is helping us create the website. Of course, to some extent, most learning comes from each other. It isn’t about what we know in the Department. For us, the key is creating the linkages.

Contact Nadine
Nadine Dorries MP
House of Commons
London SW1A 0AA
via e-mail at:
or Telephone on 020 7219 5928

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