Obituary: Clifford Graham
Wednesday 17 August 1994
CLIFFORD GRAHAM was one of the people who made things happen in the National Health Service and in the wider issues of a healthy community. His work with Sir Roy Griffiths led to the introduction of general management in the NHS; he collaborated with the barrister Louis Blom- Cooper in tackling problems in mental health and illness and he was chairman of Newpin, an organisation concerned with disadvantage and abuse in the family. Graham epitomised imaginative management and would not be distracted from pursuing action on policies he thought to be right; indeed he took pleasure in exploring unconventional pathways to a proper end. That he was a civil servant, and grateful to the service for the chance it gave him, makes this all the more remarkable.
Cliff Graham made his own way in life from a childhood in Liverpool that established lifetime interests in cycling and Everton Football Club, through night- school qualification as a barrister, of which he was always proud, to a career in the civil service from clerical officer in the Admiralty to Under-Secretary in the Department of Health. He was first noticed for his contribution to the Woodbine Parish Study on Estate Management in the Health Service that opened the way for his contribution to the policies on resource allocation and the development of information systems.
Then, in the early Eighties, Graham was more personally identified when he worked with Griffiths and colleagues on the NHS Management Inquiry and was promoted to Under-Secretary to see through the introduction of general management in the NHS. Change in the health service is known for the turbulence it generates, and it is therefore notable that a concept of such far-reaching consequence was introduced, despite professional opposition, but has not been seriously questioned since. Under-Secretaries see many changes in their time, but few make a difference such as Graham did.
Graham worked with Derek Rayner during his scrutinies and then during a sabbatical year with Brian Abel Smith at the London School of Economics on Consumer Satisfaction. During his time as Under-Secretary in the Mental Health Division of the department he worked closely with Blom-Cooper at the Mental Health Act Commission; he established the Special Health Authority for secure hospitals and met Jimmy Savile in their work for Broadmoor Hospital. A chance encounter led to Graham's becoming a trustee and then chairman of Newpin, which began in south London and has spread across Britain. Latterly he directed the Institute for Health at King's College, and undertook several roving commissions on a wide variety of topics such as health services in Jordan, managed care in the United States and initiatives on alternative medicines and therapies.
Those who knew him in the diverse aspects of his life all recognised his ability to get wheels turning and were grateful for the way he attacked an issue with energy and immediacy. He brought the best out of people by his encouraging and supportive approach and could talk to anyone and get them to play their part. He helped the world at large to work with the civil service and helped the civil service to concentrate on the issues that had practical consequence.
Graham loved cycling all his life. He bought a mountain bike only two years ago and often took off exploring the West Country around his house in Milton Clevedon, near Shepton Mallet. Given his notoriously bad sense of direction these forays could lead to considerably greater expenditure of energy than was at first anticipated, and arrival at some engagement only in the nick of time. His Christmas cards were always fun because he penned a few thoughts about times past and present that were sometimes illegible even for the author. He loved music, particularly opera and the English composers Elgar and Delius, whom passing locals came to know such was his preferred volume on the stereo when relaxing in a bath.
That was the contrast between a professional life of great intensity and commitment and the ability to relax at home and on holiday in Greece. It is good to think that his second wife Sarah has as her last memory of him just such a holiday - she is expecting their child in November.
Undertaker dead hoax: WWE wrestler not 'found dead in home' as Facebook and Twitter reports
Malaysia Airlines MH370 co-pilot's phone 'was on and made contact with network tower' 30 minutes after plane turned around
Oscar Pistorius trial: Reeva Steenkamp told athlete she 'loved him' for first time in Valentine's Day card
Total lunar eclipse 2014: Where can I see the blood moon? Live-streaming and more
Lunar eclipse 2014: Images of last night's spectacular 'blood moon'
David Cameron: 'Jesus invented the Big Society – I'm just continuing God's work'
US Navy christens huge $3 billion destroyer ship USS Zumwalt that appears as a fishing boat on enemy radar
Nigel Farage fatigue? Half of voters ‘immune’ to Ukip’s appeal
Nigel Farage on Have I Got News For You: Ukip leader ridiculed over expenses and party 'fruitcakes'
Ukip and Nigel Farage on the up over Maria Miller furore and 'Sexminster' culture
Refugee facing deportation from Sweden saved by fellow passengers refusing to let plane leave
- 1 Refugee facing deportation from Sweden saved by fellow passengers refusing to let plane leave
- 2 Naked yoga: the bare truth - it's already big in the US, and has now landed here
- 3 24 people applied for the 'world's toughest job', here are their interviews
- 4 What's in the safe? Man live-photographs cracking of mysterious locked box on Reddit
- 5 Drugs giant GlaxoSmithKline bribed doctors to boost sales, says whistleblower