Saturday, December 30, 2006

What a joke!

Hazel Blears MP - Chairperson of the Labour Party

As regular readers of Simplicity Blog will know I am one of the greatest critics of health service managers but I cannot help but feel for my ex-colleagues when I read the latest soap opera. Click here for the story

The Government has been putting pressure on managers to make the NHS more efficient, reduce costs and increase efficiency. I believe there is still plenty of slack in the system with potential to redistribute millions of pounds to make the service more efficient and patient-centred.

The biggest problem for NHS managers has always been interference from Politicians who seem intent on ‘dabbling’ in the everyday running of the service instead of letting managers get on and manage things as they are paid handsome sums to do.

So it comes as no surprise, to me anyway, that Hazel Blears MP who is Chairperson of the Labour Party and presumably therefore fully signed up to her own Government’s agenda on health should stand outside her local hospital that is threatened with closure as a protestor along with other members of the public, I suspect managers in Hope Hospital, Manchester must feel like they are damned if they do and damned if they don’t.

In the NHS, managers are often sacked for not carrying out Government policy and yet when they do just that, we see the Chairperson of the Labour Party no less opposing what her own Government is recommending!

Madness! - They could not write a better soap opera script.

It also makes a total mockery of the concept of letting managers in the NHS get on with managing.

For once my sympathy is with NHS managers and my three word summary - What a joke!


Dr Grumble said...

Dr Grumble agrees. But he thinks that any slack in the system is getting worse. He thinks that there has been a proliferation of non jobs in the NHS in recent years. Each initiative seems to require new staff - but what they do useful that didn't get done before is hard to discern - though plainly they fufil some management need.

They rarely getted sacked unless things are really desperate. In Dr Grumble's hospital just two have been made redundant - and one of these was a gardener.

Dr Grumble said...

Wat Tyler has something on non jobs paid for by the tax payer:

Trevor Gay said...

Hi Dr Grumble - Thanks for the non-job reference - very good!

In my experience there have always been seemingly bold and macho announcements from politicians about management sackings and redundancies which of course gains votes for politicians. By the time we find out ‘who goes’ it is usually just a couple cleaners on temporary contracts and that’s about it. There are very rarely genuine casualties in NHS management at times of restructuring. Unlike some people in the commercial world who are told on Friday not to come in on Monday as their job has gone. I worked with someone whose husband was told this in the early 1990’s after he had worked for 15 years or so for the same very well known company.

Anonymous said...

I finally got round to reading In Search of Excellence over Christmas – yes I know that I am twenty odd years late! But better late than never! It strikes me that many of the excellence practices described by Peters and Waterman would work equally well in the NHS. I was particularly struck by the way that excellent companies work so closely with the customer. And how these very same companies also look after and encourage their employees. If only the NHS and, indeed, many commercial organisations would recognise this as a keystone to being successful.

You are right Trevor to criticise government interference. I know from personal experience in the corporate world how destructive can be the influence of interference from above. And of course, the converse is true.

One of the most satisfying projects that I was involved with was a £20 million product update programme. The parameters were agreed with the board and after that we were pretty much left to get on with it. Along the way we received support from one or two senior people who egged us on to do more than we thought we could afford. The net result was a project delivered on time, well under budget and with more content than we had originally agreed with the board. Oh, and there was enough left over to fund a number of smaller programmes subsequently!

Trevor Gay said...

Thanks David and Happy New Year to you and your family.

In Search of Excellence is a bit dated according to some but in my opinion the eight key messages it contains still apply as much now as 1982 when it was written.

I love your example of being ‘left alone’ to get on with things - such simplicity and such common sense. In the words of the old song 'When will they ever learn, When will they ever learn'

Trust your staff!