Wednesday 23 July 2008

We don't need government approved 'good' doctors

It isn’t that somehow making sure doctors are competent, and stay that way, is a bad idea. The problem is the way these things get measured in our miserably utilitarian Labour government.

Try reading an Ofsted report these days. You wonder why you have read through the whole thing without learning anything. It’s because inspectors use a computer programme which involves assigning numerical grades for various aspects, and the programme then translates these into approved sentences.

Similar programmes are being used to write equally mushy and meaningless school reports.

Try asking a health visitor for advice. They will simply test you, and your question, against approved government advice on the subject, and you will worry a little about the way they look at you.

Try appointing a new company to mark SATS tests, using an approved tick box commissioning system, and you find you have appointed an incompetent corporate that is very good at doing bids.

What will the effects be of subjecting doctors to the same tests? They will give you approved gobbets of government advice, they will run the simplest question through laborious online expert systems, and you will wonder whether you have been told anything at all.

It all comes down to Richard Rogers’ gripe about his cities report. He complained that the government had taken out the word ‘beautiful’ as an objective for our cities and replaced it with the word ‘good design’. The same impoverishment of language is happening in Ofsted inspections (‘good schools’) and now I fear we will get government-approved ‘good doctors’ as well.

1 comment:

Alasdair W said...

There is a case for certain measures but sometimes beaurocracy goes to far. I feel as if the balance is impossible to achieve.