'We can't do what we've always done in healthcare and expect to get different results' - Maggie Throup
The room was packed out with health professionals, MPs and Tory members as Dan Bond, political editor of The House magazine, Health Select Committee member Maggie Throup, and Health Minister Philip Dunne made speeches at the Health & Care Forum's Conservative Party Conference reception last night.
Conservative MP Maggie Throup, who has “lived and breathed” healthcare all of her working life, laid down some challenges to her colleague Philip Dunne during her speech.
She hoped the Health Minister would be “brave and bold” on the subject of healthcare, because in this issue “we must do more”.
As a member of the health select committee, she acknowledged that some of the inquiries she had been a part of had taken longer than she had hoped, and that made the work less consequential than she would have liked.
However, she and the committee had some great ideas about where healthcare could go in the future, she said, and she wanted to propose “healthcare in different ways.”
“We can’t always do what we’ve done and hope to now get different results,” she stated.
Her first message for the Minister was on anti-microbial resistance, quoting Professor Dame Sally Davies saying it is “as big a threat as terrorism”.
She noted how the subject had been in the news that morning, with reports that people were buying anti-biotics off the internet.
Her second message for Mr Dunne was on obesity, pointing to the health committee report on the subject last year: “We all felt the summer strategy didn’t go far enough for childhood obesity.”
This issue had huge impacts for health and care, she said, and argued “it has huge impacts for health and care… If we don’t do more, it will become a huge problem for the future.”
Unlike Ms Throup, Mr Dunne, appointed in his position just months ago, does not have a background in health. He came to be health minister from the Department of Transport, meaning his dealings with health have been purely as a consumer.
But he explained that his priority was similar to Jeremy Hunt’s; he wanted to change the “culture of delivery”.
Mr Dunne said he believes when things go wrong in the NHS, people tend to sweep the problems under the carpet, and he wants to change that so people are able to learn from mistakes.
If the department is able to change that over the course of this government, he said, that would be a “tremendous achievement”.
One of the things he is interested in is getting patients treated closer to home, as this can ease the NHS’s increasing operational pressures, he explained. If this can happen in some parts of the country, he reasoned, it can happen in others.