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Destructive Innovation creates a wasteland

The wasteland created by the political class post-Brexit is the ultimate expression of a deluded mantra which has gradually been eroding the NHS and now the country. Time and time again over the last 10 years, I have been confronted with NHS managers, medical leaders and policy makers who cite the holy cause of ‘destructive innovation’ as the means to achieve a better healthcare system.

This unchallanged mantra and the idea seemed to be that smashing things down would somehow cause regeneration and a better healthcare service. Well it didn’t work for the NHS and it didn’t work for the UK. In the case of Brexit, livelihoods and people’s futures have been put at stake because a group of powerful people thought that this was the way forward – the vast majority of them male and privileged. And there is even some doubt that they thought it was a way forward at all – simply an exercise to flex their muscles and get one over on opponents. How appalling that so much has been gambled and lost on a childish game.

For it seems to me that the idea of destructive innovation has its seeds in the nursery where it’s OK to build Lego models and smash them and rebuild them anew. But we all grow up and realise that Lego building blocks should not be confused with real life institutions. Except that many of our, mostly male, politicians seem not to have learned this lesson, to our great cost. And although I don’t hold with gender stereotypes in general, I do believe that this is more deeply embedded in the male psyche than the female. Even as a child, I remember building castles while my brothers loved nothing better than creating lego cars that they could smash into each other. My castles didn’t last long under the onslaught either. Perhaps it is because women have to take a more creative nurturing role as mothers that we disdain the idea of working so hard on building something only to destroy it again. Looking at how the UK will be governed in future, it looks more and more likely that women will run the separate countries of the Union, joining Nicola Sturgeon at the top of the political tree. Interestingly, women also lead many FTSE 100 companies that are in crisis. It is the only time when the male-dominated establishment will let women rise to the top when the men have right royally f**cked everything up. I think now is the time for the false premise of ‘destructive innovation’ to be banished from the NHS too, and for creative people (perhaps more females even) to take the helm and steer the ship into calmer waters. This mess will only end when women can show that real life isn’t lego and we all have to grow up sometime.

Dr Clare Gerada
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