Thursday, 26 August 2010

How not to make cost savings, and how it could be done well

I had to have a scan recently (all clear, thankfully) and decided to order a copy of it. I'd been told by the specialist I'd have to pay, so was rather surprised to be told by the receptionist in radiology that it was free for me, because I was ordering it within 40 days of the scan taking place. I commented that this seemed a bit eccentric, and she readily agreed. There had been a change to the rules recently, and she thought the change (making it free) didn't sit well with the cost-saving initiatives currently going on in the NHS. At the same time as making the copy of the scan results free, for example, the person who used to do the scans had been laid off, so they now take at least a couple of weeks to produce, by whomever has a spare moment. I agreed this seemed odd. 'They obviously haven't asked the staff', said I. 'But what else would you expect from NHS managers?', she said.

Assuming she wasn't embittered from, say, being on the at-risk-of-redundancy list - and she didn't appear disgruntled - I thought:

- consulting staff to get cost-saving ideas (as distinct from radical downsizing) is basic managerial good practice and has been for several decades;
- I got this from a 5 minute conversation - what more could be obtained from, say, an hour's workshop?
- I actually wouldn't mind a crack at this, but every role I've seen advertised relating to the NHS has required deep and extensive, specific, prior NHS experience.

Something's not quite right...

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