How NOT to use feedback!

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.


One Response to How NOT to use feedback!

  1. MJ Ray says:

    I don’t like the idea in principle, but I’ve lost much sympathy for the GP surgeries and Primary Care Trusts. PCTs are still taking out newspaper adverts lying to us that we can book appointments in advance (useful for those of us who work and have not-urgent-yet problems), but if we call GPs to book an appointment, we’re told that we can have one in the next 24 hours or must call back later. Sometimes “call back later” is the only option. You might remember that Tony Blair got a kicking on Question Time about this before the last election – and it’s still happening today!

    So, I’d love a less-moderated feedback route, because the PCTs seem to be unhinged from reality. It’s bad management, but it would be better than the current measurements.

    But “switch to another practice”? Yeah, right! I’ve a choice of one, which was required to accept me by postcode, but is on the other side of the next-but-one village and 1h30 each way by public transport (it’s quicker to walk – if you can walk).

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