Hanging Tough

I’ll be honest. Since he took up post back in September 2012 there has been little upon which I and Jeremy Hunt have found common cause. No doubt this state of affairs causes him endless sleepless nights. For this I am truly sorry.

This week all that changed, because on Tuesday Mr Hunt and I agreed on one important point … that small is beautiful. I know this because it has been reported in Computer Weekly and therefore it is written in blood.


Let me repeat a few key passages for you.

“I think the NHS has got a long way to go before we are a truly level playing field for SMEs,”


“I think there is quite a lot of evidence that where we have made the fastest progress is places… where small is beautiful and you have teams that are nimble enough [to] deliver stuff really quickly.”


“That is the way we have got to go. Don’t give up. The NHS needs you. I think it is really worth hanging on in there. This is a market that is really going to grow and I think it could do with nimble, flexible people who have brilliant new ideas.”

Get the picture?

Now as much as I would love to believe that Mr Hunt is a regular reader of this blog, hubris is not a trait I would readily admit to. But come clean Mr Hunt, you’ve been peeping haven’t you…?


Of course stating a thing is true and identifying it as a problem is not a sure guarantee of making that problem go away. Never a day goes by when I don’t click my heels and think of Kansas. More often as not when I open my eyes I’m still in Epsom.

Now let me make it clear. I’m not looking for any special favours here. I’m supposed to be an entrepreneur after all, and it is not the job of entrepreneurs to gripe, groan and growl at the unfairness of it all [although I do a quite a lot of that when I get home].

Our job is to get on with it. Get a vision. Get creative. Get innovative. Get even. Anything but get angry.

So I’m not (angry that is) and as I now know you read this blog Mr Hunt you have my personal assurance that I will indeed “hang on in there”. We’ve being doing so for the best part of twenty years and in that time I’d like to think we’ve made a difference to the NHS customers we serve.

I look forward to the age of ‘localism’ of which you speak. Presumably this will be borne from the ‘liberated’ NHS that was created on 1st April this year?

The trouble is a lot of the people I speak with on the ground – principally the clinical commissioning community – don’t feel terribly liberated. And whilst their vision is a long way off the boot stamping on a human face that Orwell foretold, what they do see is something (or some things) that bear close approximation to heavy footwear.

But I’m ever the optimist.

I look forward to the flowering of a thousand blooms that signal the beginning of a new age of partnership and collaboration with SME’s, third sector and academia in the vanguard.

The economic realities in which we operate dictate that the old models of doing business are no longer affordable. This is not to say that the ‘big beasts’ will be fully ejected from the jungle, but it should at least mean a more prominent place at the watering hole for the small(er) but beautifully formed.

Who knows we might even see the emergence of a procurement process which everyone can understand and by which anyone can play.

So I’m feeling the love Mr Hunt.

I can almost see those sunlit uplands.

I and the brilliant people at Sollis will keep working on those equally brilliant new ideas, and rest assured we will continue to ‘Hang Tough’.

It is part of what we do.