We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Be collective and individual

Well, at least the language is sort of getting there:

John Reid, the health secretary, has embarked on the biggest ever programme of ministerial visits to NHS hospitals to persuade staff to accept fundamental changes in working practices to improve the service to patients.

He has told colleagues that the public will not accept there has been genuine improvement in the NHS until patients are treated with the same promptness and respect that they get as consumers of other goods and services.

As ‘consumers of other goods and services’ they are the paying the piper and therefore calling the tune. Contrast the NHS where the paying customer is the government and the patients are units of production.

Health ministers think their biggest political challenge is to engineer this change in the working culture of NHS organisations. They want them to tailor services to suit the preferences of the individual instead of expecting patients to adjust to the convenience of the professionals.

Fat chance! Public services are not run for the benefit of the public they are run for the benefit of the public sector. If you want ‘services to suit the preferences of the individual’ you need a free market in healthcare.

So another doomed ‘initiative’ will shortly bite the dust but not before, I hope, Mr.Reid and his advisers reach the logical conclusions of their own ideas.

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3 comments to Be collective and individual

  • Dan Roentsch

    Meanwhile, in the US, the politicians still call for the creation of a stateside version of NHS, even as the socialized Canadians flock southward in junkets to receive hernia operations rather than spend 6 months in truss triage.

  • Guy Herbert

    One fears that only the language will be altered. They have it the wrong way round, just as they have got such commercial tools as benchmarking and performance indicators back-to-front.

    Tax-funded employees are just like any others: if their interests and the customers’ are aligned (or at least not opposed) then they’ll seek to please the customer; and without stupid constraints on their actions they’ll be happier and more pleasant to deal with. Dragoon them into some idiotic bureaucrat-devised customer- satisfaction targets on top of everything else, and we can predict two things: (1) real service will be worse (though the official statistics may glow), and (2) the service-providers will be even more form-shy and bolshy.

  • I’ve been discussing such issues online lately but none of the concerned authorities took the notice of it.