The Guardian Interviews Sir David Nicholson
The Guardian's Decca Aitkenhead has interviewed the chief executive of the NHS, Sir David Nicholson. Among the topics covered are the Keogh review of the 14 hospitals, publication of data about surgical outcomes, quality of care, and whistleblowers.
Despite a vitriolic press onslaught, which branded him "the man with no shame" and contributed to his decision to stand down by next spring, he seems implacably relaxed and unguarded, a bluff straight-talker so confident in his command of NHS detail that nothing can rattle him. "The issue in the NHS is always lack of balance," he offers philosophically. "People operate at different ends of the pendulum, so it's either all fantastic or all terrible, when in fact both things happen simultaneously. Hospital mortality, for example, is the lowest it's been since records began – but bad things happen to patients, and sometimes we let them down."