…or so we are told.  Apparently it is “wasteful” to allocate 0.3% of your budget to management consultancy.  Better it seems to flounder about inefficiently, for your staff to be pulled from pillar to post as they try to respond to more new initiatives and directives, and for them not to have the opportunity to learn from others how to accomplish distant, often imposed, but generally laudable goals.

And what do we Management Consultants bring to the party? I for one have helped to transform the commissioning of dental practices so that people can have previously denied access to high quality dentistry under the NHS, of the type which will ensure an improvement in their oral health, and enabled this to be achieved in a sensible time frame; I have helped a group of PCTs to set up the infrastructure to support research and development in primary care, in line with the NHS Plan, so that patients can benefit directly from the results of this research and staff be encouraged to stay working for the NHS and to deliver Primary and Community Care; I have helped NHS and local authority managers to develop the business case for new services and for staff training to deliver these; and I could go on….!

We are told there are too many managers in the NHS; now we are told there are too many management consultants.  So, who is supposed to be managing this huge organisation?  Are the “front line staff” going to have to abandon their patients, roll up their sleeves and become instant top class business managers?  Then who will be the front-line staff?

I must stop this rant, pick up the phone, and see how I can best help my clients to weather this latest storm.  If I can continue to help them to be efficient and effective and to support individual staff to achieve even more than they are already, more patients will benefit, and more people may feel better.  It could put a smile on someone’s face.  And that’s good enough for me.

Kate Ward
21st August 2010.

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