Times is hard.  A recent survey of hard pressed mandarins at the Department of Health is gruesome reading.  The results have been obtained by Medical Harm and are published here.  It starts with only 35% of DH workers recommending it as a “great place to work”.  A lower 29% of mandarins found that the DH motivated them to achieve their objectives.  But most telling is that a whoppingly low 19% of mandarins felts that “change is well managed in the Department”.  Finally, a miserable 12%  felt that changes made “are usually for the better”.

The reason many of the mandarins may be struggling is that power is running through their hands and is being re-located to a new home, the new Co-Operation and Competition Panel at the Department of Health.  Is is staffed with City lawyers and management consultants and their job is to oversee GP commissioning.  The rules are not yet set.  If a shipping crate turns up with cheap surgeons and no running costs, GP’s may be forced to send patients there.  At a recent talk at UCL, the new director of the Co-operation and Competition Panel, Catherine Davies, talked of getting quality into commissioning.  Unlike hotels where reviews are easily available the NHS has traditionally relied on two metrics:  waiting times and mortality.

But do those metrics work?  Over the next few weeks, Medical Harm will be publishing a long term investigations the gaming of mortality statistics.


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  1. Louise Irvine says:

    The Co-operation and Competition panel is not new. It was established under Labour to help private companies challenge NHS contracting decisions as part of Labour’s policy to open up the NHS to private providers. The reason the DH folk may be demoralised is because , again under Labour, a Commercial Directorate was established within the DH with a staff of over 100, mainly taken from private sector, to push through the commercialisation agenda, side-lining other considerations such as public health.

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