10 posts since 30th September represents an all-time record as M-A-C engages with the issues and causes dear to our collective and individual hearts.
Our first ever post back in 2003 was about our central interest – user involvement. A theme echoed in this month’s output with Andrew’s post Engagement isn’t enough. Two posts later, we were taking a look at Ann Abraham’s approach to her then quite new job as Health Ombudsman. Complaints and the way they are managed and treated and what they mean for the organisations trying to deal with them are another abiding interest – see the piece on 24th looking at how common themes can emerge from different surveys of the complainant/ customer experience.
It is not all about the familiar themes – since 2003 we have broadened our interests to embrace two new areas – Policy Governance and parental involvement in schools. In the case of the model developed by John and Miriam Carver, Policy Governance® has taken a while to get off the ground in the UK. Most of the work and case histories reflected US practice and we have not had a good UK example of how this approach to corporate governance can help organisations here. Now the Southend University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust have led the way for others to follow. Val Moore reported on this on 27th October.
Finally, Caroline Millar reports on how the new models of participation – involvement, engagement – are impacting schools, parents and teachers. Her piece focuses on the consultation on complaint handling in schools and how parental problems are handled (or not).
We call ourselves a consultancy that specialises in the user interest. What keeps us interested and involved and in business, is how that interest can manifest itself in so many different contexts while the principles underlying best practice can be so similar. Different diagnoses, different solutions but underpinning them all are the common questions – what do users think of this? Has anyone asked them? Has anyone listened? Has anyone done anything with what they have heard? What happens when people have a problem? Easy really.
The final question that comes up when looking back over 5 years – has anything changed? Well Andrew inspired us all with a 2006 look at what the NHS will be like by 2015. We are almost halfway there and what has come true? Well the Department of Health seems to see things the Andrew Craig way. Allowing people to pay for their drugs was something Andrew took a look at in March this year when he pointed out that ‘topping up’ was something that Beveridge seemed to have explicitly anticipated when he wrote about the State leaving “room and encouragement for voluntary action by each individual”. As far as the management ethos of the NHS as a whole is concerned, we will wait and see how PG will change all that.
In the meantime, it is still worth repeating a little Olympic-flavoured M-A-C joke from 28th November 2006 –
A parable of NHS reforms
(Elements are borrowed from several sources and sexed up a bit by us)
An NHS rowing team raced against a Japanese team. There were eight people in each team, of similar fitness, but the Japanese team won by a mile. How could this have happened asked John Reid? Top NHS management established a committee of analysts, which reported that the Japanese had seven rowers and one captain, whereas the NHS has seven captains and one rower. The experts called for restructuring of the NHS team. The new team comprised four captains, two service managers, and a director who also did the rowing. After a second lost race to the Japanese, the single rower was dismissed on the grounds of incompetence, and the management team received a bonus for strong leadership. A new NHS boat is currently being designed , but is reported to be running behind delivery schedule due to IT problems.
Let us see what has changed by the Olympic year of 2012 assuming we have not had to make a choice before then between funding bread and circuses or the NHS.