We wanted to ask local people their experiences of local health services and also get their views about how services might be improved.
We decided to hold meetings with residents in the three biggest towns on Dartmoor and a couple of small villages to get what we thought were representative opinions from people living on Dartmoor.
We duly wrote the report of our findings and held a series of meetings to discuss those findings with local people. I remember very clearly going to a village hall in deepest, darkest Dartmoor in a very tiny village called Lustleigh to talk to the locals about our findings.
They asked me whether our research had included opinions from people living in Lustleigh – population about 150 people (plus a few sheep) I replied that we had drawn conclusions from meetings with a cross section of people who lived on Dartmoor, including some who lived in a larger village less than 3 miles away where we had held one of our metings with local residents. The ‘Lustleigh folks’ immediately became indignant and objected that the views of people living in a village 3 miles away should in any way be seen to represent of the views of people living in Lustleigh. They were right of course and we were wrong.
The point of this true story is to get your opinions about the merits of centralisation versus decentralisation - local or national - and what do we actually mean by all these terms.
We can also include in the discussion the relative merits of centralisation and decentralisation within management and organisations.
In the UK National Health Service there are genuine attempts to get decision making down to a more local level and there are still many critics who believe too much power is vested in central government.
This posting has been promoted by my friend David Wike and I would be fascinated to hear comments from readers with different experiences and opinions about preferred options of centralise or decentralise the power.
For instance; what, if anything, needs to remain central? Or alternatively – what just cannot be decentralised?
Thanks David – I hope we get some responses