Former NHS Trust Chairman Roy Lilley: Is the NHS safe?

Roy Lilley started his first enterprise from scratch over half a century ago. In 1989, his multi-million pound business was sold to fellow directors and managers. As a policy advisor and visiting fellow at Imperial College, London, he helped start the Health Services Management School at Nottingham University and was founder of the Federation of NHS Trusts, which became today's NHS Confederation. For over ten years now, Roy has written an e-letter (a bitesize podcast series) that reaches 300,000 health and care managers in the UK and overseas.

A former chairman of Homewood NHS Trust in Surrey and former mayor of his borough council there, Roy Lilley has a wealth of public administration experience and has written for the Guardian, the Sunday Times, the Daily Telegraph and a number of other newspapers and periodicals. He is also a regular columnist in Pharmaceutical Marketing Magazine. He is a refreshingly honest and open man and willing to debate issues thoroughly. His enthusiasm and passion for the National Health Service is clear for all to see, and his comparative knowledge of healthcare systems is instructive; for example, he points out that Britain has proportionally far less management in healthcare than France or the USA.

In a relaxed and frank interview, UK Column Nursing Correspondent Debi Evans talks to Roy about the current crisis in the NHS. Debi, a retired State Registered Nurse and a self-described old-school Ward Sister, also served for five years as a UK Government Advisor at the Department of Health and Social Care. Her conversation with Roy goes back to the days when hospitals were places full of flowers, nurses attended the sick in starched uniforms, and relatives were the real ‘regulators’; and when smiles, reassurance and tender loving care was a given, free at the point of contact.

Fast forward to 2022 and digitisation, artificial intelligence and data gathering appears to have taken over from good old healthcare. Gone are the days when a nurse would hold your hand and take your pulse; today, you’re likely to be scanned with an iPad.

What is the state of the health of the NHS? Will the NHS Long Term Plan work? Is the NHS in a terminal condition, or can it be saved? If it can be saved, who will save it?

This is the first of a series of interviews with Roy Lilley. UK Column looks forward to the next instalment of the Roy and Debi's common-sense NHS conversations.

Three times voted the top speaker on NHS topics, Roy Lilley visits more than 20 NHS establishments a year and travels the UK and the world talking about healthcare, management and policy.

 He says, "Healthcare is my interest, my challenge, my passion and I am lucky to be involved with the professionals who make our lives healthier, our families safer and each of us proud of what we do."