GPs and the Lancelot Spratt school of management

Here’s a great counterblast from Kevin Ball in response to the know-nothings who keep banging on about how the NHS doesn’t need management. As he says, the government is about to ask a group of people, many of whom have little enthusiasm for management, to….erm….manage £80bn of health spending.

I particularly liked this bit:

Safe from the evolutionary effects of market freedom, some Doctors have retained the view of management as an unnecessary impediment to their work and it is easy to see why. GP Practices are private organisations contracting to an NHS which nannies, nags, and shouts at them ineffectually in almost equal measure. Management in the Practice is usually delegated to a senior administrator who is cheerfully overruled by the owners of the business in a Lancelot Spratt kind of way. Partners meet for a cup of coffee every now and then rather than anything that might resemble a Board meeting. After eight years of medical training who can blame any GP for not wanting to learn how to read a balance sheet, analyse their work flows for improvements or consider developing their leadership skills?

There are some very capable GPs who are really up for this and who will make a very good job of commissioning healthcare. But I suspect that an equal number of them are dreading it and wish the whole thing would just go away.

Update: Paul Corrigan continues his dissection of the NHS white paper. He has a bit to say on this subject too:

GPs have had 60 years of working as small businesses and for all of that time they have worked alongside, and not for, statutory organisations. Over that period generally GPs have not had a high opinion of the way in which statutory organisations have worked. They have looked at the public sector governance that hedges around the leadership of all of these statutory structures. GPs recognise how the room for manoeuvre that leaders need is restricted at every turn. They recognise that it’s not the individual people who run PCTs that cannot make better commissioning decisions. It is the duties and governance laid upon them by the state as statutory organisations.

The strange thing about this policy is that the Government agrees with GPs. They agree that state organisations are not the way to commission – and yet they now appear determined to force GPs into them.

PCTs are being recreated before our eyes.

Well even Dougal could see that one coming.

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4 Responses to GPs and the Lancelot Spratt school of management

  1. Pingback: GPs and the Lancelot Spratt school of management - Rick - Member Blogs - HR Blogs - HR Space from Personnel Today and Xpert HR

  2. CharlieMcMenamin says:

    Blimey: Corrigan. He’s moved a long way since he taught me undergraduate Sociology in the mid-1970s, when he was a card-carrying member of the CPGB. I recall going to see the Clash in their first tour of London only to find him sprawled dead drunk and asleep at the back of the dancehall…I think we just pogoed around him.

    Anyway, it’s most amusing to see how he’s re-invented himself as a management guru. I’d just take it all with a pinch of salt if I were you.

  3. Rick says:

    Cripes Charlie, you saw the Clash on their first tour? You must be even older than I am.

    Funny how these old commies re-invent themselves as management Gurus and social commentators. The former RCP lot have proved to be very good at that.

    For all that, though, I’m quite enjoying his detailed dissection of the NHS white paper. Patrick Butler in the Guardian commented that Corrigan seems to think Lansley has not been radical enough. That’s another thing that often seems to happen to old commies. It becomes hard to distinguish them from radical free-market types.

  4. To be fair to Corrigan I think he’s somewhat better than the RCP/Institute of Ideas folk. (Note to the kids: that last sentence is what is known as ‘faint praise’) I have a half memory of hearing he is now the partner of someone who used to be moderately important in New Labour: Hilary Armstrong perhaps? That would make sense – Blair and his acolytes always mistrusted the NHS or anything else not clearly motivated by private profit.

    I mistyped: I should have said I saw the Clash on their first tour outside London. Probably a difference of only a few months, but a big difference in street cred terms. being there at the very beginning would have meant a name check in a footnote in some book by a NME journo. Seeing them in some grotty nightclub in Coventry doesn’t have the same cachet. Not even if you’re 18, just left home and stepping over your blind drunk lecturer it doesn’t ….

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