The current Government is determined to make yet more changes to the NHS which are set put in the NHS White Paper, Equity and excellence: Liberating the NHS. It sets out the Government’s long-term vision for the future of the NHS.

One sentence in the exec summary has put fear in those of us who understand the challenges of managing change in any organisation:

empower and liberate clinicians to innovate, with the freedom to focus on improving healthcare services

Our GPs have spent 7 years training to save lives and improve people’s health. But the White Paper sets out a target that 80% of NHS budget will be in their hands by 2013. A letter in The Independent puts the concern very succintly:

“Who is going to treat our aches and pains now that our GPs are to manage change within the NHS? Those GPs foolish enough to seize this baton will soon find that Change Management is a beast that devours ever more of their time. Patient care will become an irritating intrusion into their busy lives.Sir Humphrey will give a wry smile; he, as we all know, had always been of the view that patients were an impediment to the smooth running of the health service.

Peter Martin, Muir of Ord, Ross-shire”

Perhaps a copy of my book Common Approach, Uncommon Results would be useful reading for GPs? It explains who to drive the adoption of change across corporations. But then again probably it is better that I send a copy to Andrew Landsley – instigator of the White Paper – to get him to understand the profound implications of his approach – or in the words of Sir Humphrey – “a very courageous decision”.