Can Gerry Robinson Fix The NHS?

Management guru Sir Gerry Robinson has been set a challenge – to reduce waiting lists at an NHS Trust in Yorkshire within six months and with no additional funds at his disposal. His challenge is the subject of Can Gerry Robinson fix the NHS? – a fully-funded Open University series for BBC Two that will broadcast on three consecutive nights from Monday January 8.

The former Chairman of Granada and Allied Domecq admits: “I had absolutely no idea what I was taking on. I knew it was going to be tough but it was one of the most difficult challenges I have ever attempted.”

Gerry worked with the Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust, based at Rotherham General Hospital.

The hospital is a successful one. It has achieved three-star status for the fourth consecutive year but the modern, competitive NHS is a marketplace where patients can choose which hospital they attend.

With an annual budget of £140m, 3,300 employees and more than 400,000 patients a year passing through the hospital, the trust is a large organisation by anybody’s standards but Gerry maintains that the principles of management remain constant.

The three episodes form a fascinating insight into the inner workings of the NHS and a large modern-day hospital. The cameras show a hard-working, dedicated staff and the issues and situations that form their busy working lives.

Staff from the OU Business School worked with Gerry in making the series. Professor Mark Fenton-O’Creevy from the school said: “It has been tremendously rewarding to work on this series with Gerry and the BBC team, most of all because they have had a tremendous commitment to really understand the challenges of working within the NHS and to raising the quality of public debate.

“I am convinced that these programmes represent a very important contribution to national debates about management of the NHS, but that they also have much to say about managing performance and change in any organisation.”