Monday, January 15, 2007

NHS up the creek

NHS Blog Doctor has a nice parable about a rowing race between the NHS and Marks & Spencer:
Patricia Hewitt was discouraged and depressed about the crushing defeat. She appointed a team of senior managers to investigate and to recommend appropriate action.

Their conclusion was that the Marks & Spencer team had eight people rowing and one person steering, whilst the NHS team had eight people steering and one person rowing. Patricia did not like the report, so she hired a private management consultancy company and paid them a large amount of money for a second opinion.

The consultants opined that too many people were indeed steering the boat, whilst not enough people were rowing and that, in order to prevent another defeat, the NHS rowing team's management structure should be reorganized to four steering supervisors, three area steering superintendents and one assistant superintendent steering manager.

They also recommended a new performance system, involving pre-determined targets that would give the one person rowing the boat greater incentive to work hard. The performance system was called the "Rowing Team Quality First Program" and the rower was required to attend twice weekly meetings throughout the year at which he ate bourbon biscuits, was given free pens and listened to presentations from consultant rowing specialists who, thought they had never rowed themselves, were very knowledgeable.
Read it all here.

1 comment:

AverageEarthman said...

Hmph, it's not very good really.

1. It's ancient.
2. Marks and Spencers were themselves the epitomy of bureaucratic companies, the difference being when you're selling food and clothes the public have someone else to turn to, so they had to update or die. Is this an argument for competition in some form?
3. You don't row a bloody canoe. Rowing boats are called boats. That's why that annual Oxford Cambridge race shown on TV every single year is called The Boat Race.