Since December 2015, all NHS Trusts have been sent their individual NHS Estates And Facilities Dashboard 2014-15, which has been produced by a team at the Department of Health as part of their Performance Efficiency Programme. This one page report brings together data from existing systems, including ERIC and PLACE in a kaleidoscopic presentation that rivals the graphics used during an Election Night Special.
There are two key problems with all this; firstly that of data quality. The mantra Garbage In Garbage Out is overused, but in the case of ERIC, it has been recognised for a long time that the quality of the data varies significantly from one organisation to another – and with nobody apparently sense checking it, this is only to be expected - but with some time and effort this issue can be fixed.
The second issue is more fundamental, in that these statistics are backwards-looking. At best they cover a twelve month period which ended a few months ago – and are probably older than that. Compare this to the NHS Premises Assurance Model (PAM) which is both strategic and forward looking, asking Trusts to assess their current performance across a wider range of estates & facilities measures and, crucially, identifying the costs to rectify (and keep rectified) any shortcomings.
Knowing where we’ve come from and how we got here is useful – but not as important as knowing where we’re going; after all, you can’t change the past, but you can change the future…