A powerful article was published yesterday on the effects of Government targets on the quality of care in NHS hospitals. It was written under a pseudonym, which of course gives a clue as to the difficulty people often feel in speaking out about problems with the regime they work under.

I include a link to it here because I, and I’m sure others, can see a pattern emerging in the coverage of what happened at this hospital and the Baby P incident, and a link with my observation of what has happened in schools over the past 20 years.

It is, of course, that the obsession with statistical indicators as a way of holding people to account can actually get in the way of what should be the core purpose of what public service professionals are meant to be doing. And the lack of trust embodied in the use of statistical output measures becomes counterproductive because it effectively writes off the sense of service and commitment that many working within each of these services undoubtedly have. This does not mean, of course, that we can go back to simply trusting professionals unconditionally. But a high price is being paid under the present system, which frankly looks stranger and stranger, the more I find out about it.

I hope to be writing more about what appear to me to be links in the future.

- Warwick Mansell

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posted on March 20th, 2009

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