Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Brian Cavanagh on healthcare debate at MOBILISE: 'the union movement at its best'

Brian Cavanagh reports back from the healthcare debate at UNISON Scotland's MOBILISE Anti Cut Festival in Edinburgh on Tuesday 16 August 2011.

Healthcare Debate at Mobilise Festival 16 Aug 2011

I took part in a great panel discussion about the future of health care in Scotland. The panel included a wide range of expertise and experience from across the health care sector and beyond - with the key focus of the speakers on the big challenges faced by health care organisations.

The choice in the term health care and not the health service was deliberate and stimulated some good discussions and debate from the floor. Effectively chaired by Lilian Macer, the discussion moved beyond the usual conversations dominated by the financial situation into a much more significant debate about what the future of health care can look like:

What are the challenges of running a health care system with increased demand and expectations?

What does a quality experience actually feel like – when the pressure is on – to do more for less?

With an ageing workforce, how do you get the right skill mix and match?

How do you achieve the holy grail of integrated health and social care?

Despite many years of discussion and some interesting joint work, what needs to be done to develop a process that is user centred?

A couple of taboo topics were also raised: In a rights and responsibility culture, what responsibility have people for their own health? (This produced some lively exchanges!) There was also lot of discussion on the wider lessons of partnership working: It’s easy in good times – the test of partnership is in tough times!

Led by UNISON, this event provided a forum for thoughtful discussion about the difficult times healthcare in Scotland faces and, rather than being a moan fest, identified some key areas where a different approach can improve patient care even in a time of austerity. It was the union movement at its best: passionate, practical and with solutions

Brian Cavanagh

Blog posted at
17 August 2011

(Brian is a former chair of NHS Lothian)


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