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On Valeria Fiore’s last day as a reporter at Healthcare Leader, she looks back at what has made writing for NHS commissioners so special
What I will miss the most about being a reporter for Healthcare Leader is conveying in words, or at least trying to, your resilience and your stoicism.
Even in times of financial hardship – which have been business as usual for NHS leaders over the last eight years or so – you give proof of your value, devising innovative and smart ways of working with few resources.
It has been an exceptional privilege to be able to share the projects you were most proud of.
Over the past year, you have shared great examples with me of how working in an integrated way helps you reduce delayed transfers of care, or how it allows you to cut the number of undiagnosed diabetes cases. It might be a cliché, but you have shown me that unity is strength, and I am pleased that NHS England has decided to steer in that direction in the latest GP contract.
I cannot hide that when I was first offered a job at Healthcare Leader, I feared I might be perceived as someone too young or ill-informed to understand how the healthcare system works. Instead, I spoke with confident but patient people who guided me through the vast number of confusing acronyms our NHS is so fond of.
Not only did you thoroughly explain your stories and your projects, but also you expanded my awareness of crucial issues the healthcare system must eradicate, such as the different treatment black and minority ethnic (BME) people sometimes experience in the NHS.
It is therefore encouraging to see that the NHS has committed an extra £1m a year until 2025 to the work of the Workforce Race Equality Standard programme, as it announced in the long-term plan, and I hope the NHS will fulfil this pledge. I got close to the cause of many BME leaders and staff, trying to analyse every report in the best way I possibly could, but every number or statistic I quoted wouldn’t have had the same impact if it hadn’t been backed up by your powerful words.
Furthermore, every word of encouragement that you gave to the NHS’s women in a bid to inspire them to apply for a leadership role, you were also giving to me.
Being a leader isn’t easy. As an NHS Providers report showed last year, this job isn’t for everyone, as 37% of NHS trusts have at least one empty executive director position. CCG leaders will also have to reinvent themselves because, as a series of merger proposals hint, they are likely to become responsible for a wider slice of the population.
However, I leave this sector confident that, now that the long-term plan has promised more money and staff to the NHS, you’ll hopefully get the support you need to show just how well you can lead.