Old Bedfordian Professor Tim Briggs (67-76), President of the Harpur Science Forum, Orthopaedic Surgeon and National Director for Clinical Quality & Efficiency for the NHS gave a talk in the Great Hall entitled ‘Can the NHS be Saved?’
As the audience quickly realised, Prof Briggs is a man who speaks plainly; there was no attempt to generate fake news, sell a story or manipulate the truth. The budget for the NHS has passed its breaking point and things are going wrong. In order to establish what was happening, Prof Briggs (recently President of the British Orthopaedic Association) visited every acute hospital in England, met with their clinical teams and hospital managers and collated a huge amount of information, as he attempted to form the evidential basis for any actions he might later seek to implement in his GIRFT / Getting it Right First Time initiative. The Government have since welcomed the findings of this study and given Prof Briggs a £65 Million budget to set up a task force of top clinicians who will implement common sense changes to NHS practice.
The measures introduced will make significant reductions in the NHS costs whilst greatly improving patient outcome; Prof Briggs and his team are expecting GIRFT will save the NHS c.£1 billion p.a., although he is quietly hopeful that this might stretch to £8 billion p.a. The GIRFT initiative, under the directorship of Prof Briggs, will have wide ranging consequences for the NHS and for its clients; it was obvious that this extremely competent, energetic and (still practising) consultant orthopaedic surgeon has the skills and personality needed to drive the NHS forward. The audience applause rang long and loud for the man (and his team) who loves the NHS and might yet save it.