There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics. Benjamin Disraeli

Says Who?

Scapegoat requiredI thought M J Maroney said: there’s lies, damned lies, and statistics. But did he?

When I checked the source out it was attributed to: Mark Twain, Benjamin Disraeli and one Leonard H Courtney.

I opted for Disraeli, after all, he was a politician and must have known about lying, dissembling (watch Boris Squirm) and cover-ups (another video) from experience.

Of course, the problem of attribution remains.

Isn’t it fitting? We have a clear, excellent, Standard quotation and only vagueness about who made it. Lack of clearness and attribution, now there’s a powerful political mechanism.

Missed Health Care Standards are er… Missed

Imagine my horror and fear. Things are so bad I could, at my age, be rushed to hospital and risk being  victim of a missed NHS standard … or, then again, maybe not.

The last time I was an emergency I walked straight in, received immediate service, felt looked after, and walked out about an hour later.

NHS is not Alone

On what basis are Contracts, Services and Standards devised and specified – across our government, agencies, departments, out-source contractors and Quangos? By whom? What proven expertise is brought to bear? We need only look at project difficulties, price escalation and failures, even with private sector involvement.

Punch the Bag

We have a problem about Standards? Standards, that is, set for the NHS and many other aspects of our governance. At its core our NHS is a truly wonderful organisation. Then, of course, we witness the cruelty of the politicians and officials who use it as a punch-bag. Punch-bag you say? We’re well past the political football stage, aren’t we?

Not Just the NHS

How do our procurers or standard setters, their bosses and political masters make sure the job is done right? And when failures happen, information about the circumstances in which any foundering occurs is clear, reliable, assessed with rigour and shared honestly.

Parliamentary Confession

The Civil Service shows a consistent lack of understanding about how to gather requirements, evaluate supplier capabilities, develop relationships or specify outcomes …

Earlier this year a Parliamentary Select Committee admitted Parliament’s incompetence at almost anything to do with effective management and control of costs and procurement. External sources agree. Yet, these incompetents, believe that privatising the NHS is “good thing”. Thus more cruel blows land on NHS people.

Some people at the coal face are incompetent. However, that isn’t due to lack of potential or ability, it’s due to a lack of knowing what to do. If a person can do brain surgery, maybe she could learn, apply and lead performance improvement.

Do private contractors suffer from missed standards?

There is no justification for allowing massive private corporations to take profits from our public purse. Not unless it can be objectively proven that they deliver the best possible return.

There is no defence for not pursuing appropriate training and education for people at the sharp end.

If it is Broke, Fix It

Why don’t we review missed standards as part of a process to seriously fix:

  • disconnects between political ignorance/incompetence/stupidity
  • dishonest sound bite statistics and provide for criminal sanctions
  • the skills gap affecting action at the sharp end.

Mac Logan
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