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What would the NHS look like if it were run by Tesco?

Trust, values, loyalty, courage, act, balance, simple, lean, compete and truth – the ten words that guide successful management according to Terry Leahy, former CEO of Tesco. Looking at recent NHS events, from the failure of the board at Mid-Staffs, to the start of GP-led commissioning, how many of these words hold true in the past, present and future of the NHS?

The HSJ has picked up on the release of Sir Terry Leahy‘s new book Management in ten words. He makes clear his criticisms of the public sector. HSJ imagine what the NHS would look like under his leadership:

Target driven: focused on customers not processes

Greater choice and competition: competition where it works; benevolent monopolies where it does not

Innovation: bottom-up initiatives from staff and patients. Management is there to incentivise ideas, not to dictate them

New hospitals: building only what is necessary and replicating designs across the country. Avoiding bespoke and expensive architecture, helping the NHS save time and money to spend on care

Failure: being cut-throat about incompetence, but allowing for ‘honest failure’ where people might try but fail to improve something

Data: collecting automatically and using it to incentivise the patient

We can think of few more external candidates for the NHS leadership post. How about Sir Stuart Rose, former CEO of Marks and Spencer credited with transforming the declining chain and fending off many takeover bids from the likes of Philip Green. Or Willie Walsh, CEO of British Airways – he guided an iconic national company through a brand and budget crisis at a time of great staff unrest. Sound familiar? Stephen Hester will have time on his hands come 2014, and he knows a thing or two about reconfiguration, crisis management and managing government intervention.

Read the full HSJ article on the HSJ.