Sunday, March 13, 2005

"The Way to Save Money and Increase Productivity is to Cut Management Jobs, Not Create Them"

A telling statistic about health care administrators, this time from the UK. A commentary in the Telegraph reported that from 2001-02, the number of doctors and nurses employed by the British National Health Service (NHS) increased 5%, while the number of managers increased by 17%. "The process by which administrators subconsciously create work for each other was described by Cyril Northcote Parkinson back in the fifties. But even he never foresaw the sickness that has come to afflict public organisations." (Parkinson was the author of Parkinson's law, "work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion." See Wikipedia.)
Furthermore, "the BBC [British Broadcasting Corporation] ... seems finally to have grasped that the way to save money and increase productivity is to cut management jobs, not create them. It his about time that the government and NHS grasped it too."
Maybe some big health care organizations in the US, and other countries could learn the same lesson.
Management seems to be the fastest growing part of healthcare in many developed countries.
Of course, this is bad enough even if the bureaucrats ultimately perform competently, albeit inefficiently. Things get worse if they are incompetent, put their self-interest ahead of the organization's mission, or are frankly corrupt.

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