According to a piece in the Guardian that has attracted quite a few comments: “Ministers are planning to force GPs to improve their performance by posting patients’ comments about them on an NHS website.” In the same piece it states: “He hopes consumer power will make GPs offer a better service for fear that patients may switch to another practice with better website reviews.” and “I would never think of going on holiday without cross-referencing at least two guide books and using Trip Adviser.”
This is commodification of public service taken too far! It contrasts amazingly with two items in my current reading, the first a piece by Callaghan and Wistow from Public Administration Volume 84, No 3, 2006 where they state on page 585 that “Citizen involvement is based on democratic principles and the aim of involvement stretches beyond consumerist notions of individual satisfaction to ensure responsiveness and accountability in the context of public funding.” They have a lot more constructive theory to outline but I believe that sums up where Ben Bradshaw MP is off his trolley.
It is excellent to collect feedback and use it constructively once collated and representative but to use it as some sort of scoring system is managerialism at its worst. In terms of managerialism I have my old acquaintance Robin Ramsey who in the latest issue of Lobster pointed to the reprint Managing Brittania by Protherough and Pick, which possibly gets to the bottom of the whole nightmare. Also, his review of “From Thatcher to the Third Way: think-tanks, intellectuals and the Blair project” has probably saved me wasting my money on it.