Second Life: National Health Service (UK): (Photo credit: rosefirerising)
The Public Accounts Committee does a good job of creating interesting theatre and making it appear that this or that Chief Executive, foreign business person, Climate Change Professor or NHS official is being put on the rack.
This latest episode is in the same mold with the recalcitrant NHS people grilled publicly, admonished by Margaret Hodge, made to squirm and made to either grovel, answer back or be contrite.
Then once they are full of “contrition“, they promise never to do it again, that they have “robust plans in place”, that nothing like it”will ever happen again”, “that the culprits have been identified and removed”, that they have new”robust processes in place”, that “the important thing now is to “look forward”.
The proceedings are televised, reported on in the press, the guilty men and woman leave and then go back to doing exactly the same thing again and again and again.
Rarely, if ever, is anyone fired, suspended or held accountable.
If they are, after a short interval, they reappear just like the advanced Terminator in the Hollywood film Terminator 2, which was made out of liquid metal and able to reconstitute itself and metamorphose into any shape even after doing battle with the good Terminator played by Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Often the only way we can discover what has happened to these people is by reading the satirical magazine Private Eye because only the right wing “red tops” and the Telegraph when it decides to go after fraud and waste are able or willing to do the job.
Sometimes their reappearances are as very expensive interims, sometimes if they have made monumental mistakes and cost the taxpayer dearly we are told that they are “Tough acts to follow”.
Never are these incompetent and mendacious people fired and stripped of their ability to function in the same role in the same way as Directors can be struck off and barred from being a director for up to 15 years or doctors can be barred from practicing medicine by the General Medical Council.
In all other walks of life, at a mundane level, non-performance is rewarded with a performance management regime at best and more often than not summary dismissal.
Similarly, a look at the job boards for interim managers and consultants for the NHS reveals that “NHS experience of commissioning, contracts or whatever it happens to be is essential”.
Dr Alf, from his sun drenched Mediterranean lair, has once again hit the nail on the head, in exposing the NHS for what it is, a bloated, inefficient structure which is beyond reform and needs to be replaced with something very much better.
Let me turn this to two open question:
- Why is the PAC so weak that the same errors are repeated time and time again?,
- What should be done to make the PAC more effective?