Politics is not the right medicine for the NHS

By Cormac Tobin, Managing Director of Celesio UK

So, we’ve now smashed through the 100 day milestone and are well and truly on the downhill run to the General Election – anyone noticed?

You’d have to be living in a cave or trapped in the Big Brother House, shudder at the thought, not to know there’s an election coming up! And, as sure as night follows day, the NHS is once again a hot electoral topic.

The country’s health service is, of course, an important topic – one of the most important topics. So important in fact, I believe it should actually transcend politics.

While politicians have an eye on the long term future of the country, politics by its very nature is driven by electoral and budget cycles. As someone leading a large healthcare organisation I know that I cannot think about the next four years only, but that I need to look ahead to the long term future and understand what patients and customers will need as they grow older and the world around us changes.

This is why I am an advocate of the Five Year Forward View – the compass by which NHS strategy has been set, developed by the NHS’ national leadership and supported by all political parties.

It is this cross-partisan, long-term strategic approach that will be best for patients, carers and citizens.

I particularly welcome the focus on prevention, given our long term commitment to screening programmes and development of new models of care, which could transform the way people access the NHS in their communities, and ensure a more integrated approach with the patient at the very centre.

It would be unfortunate if the party political debate detracted from the delivery of the Five Year Forward View, as politics isn’t always the best medicine for an NHS which needs support and commitment from all.

5 February 2015