Duty to innovate
At a seminar on NHS innovation recently, someone mentioned that the NHS has introduced a new duty to innovate. This is absurd. I was sceptical when they introduced the duty to co-operate as part of the statutory framework for local area agreements. How was that supposed to work? The council sues the police force because the BCU commander hasn’t replied to their emails promptly?
But legislating innovation is even more insane. At least we can imagine a scenario where a public agency blatantly and steadfastly refuses any attempt to engage with the LAA process. What scenario can we imagine where someone had failed to promote innovation? Not least because the theory about how innovation arises is complex and disputed. Could we sue the NHS because they are obstructing local political influence over health and therefore impeding the ability of visionary local politicians to deliver new thinking? Whether you think that is clearly right or clearly wrong (I know people who would be on either side) it illustrates the nonsense of legislating for something so vague and challenging.
Realistically, I think what the NHS means by innovation is not what you or I mean. They mean “getting health services up to a basic modern standard”. If this is true, maybe the legislation is marginally less ridiculous.