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Friday, 7 July 2006

The N.H. Bloody S...

So, as I was saying, I had the great pleasure of an evening in the pub garden of the only pub in Teddytown I have yet to be barred from (sorry, that should read 'had yet to be barred from') with "Meestah Tray-cey" (that's not his real name, btw) and A. Radiographer (that is his) and after the obligatory 5 rounds of Shepherd's Knees finest scrumping ale, we started the serious drinking and got to reminiscing. (It's amazing how three supposedly intelligent men could, over the years, have had such difficulty distinguishing an outlandishly gay pub from a more conventional hostelry, isn't it?)

But then, as the evening, like our thought processes, grew dim and awash with irritating insects, we retired to the snug bar where we heard the sorry tale of A. Radiographer's work travails, as aluded to in the previous post. Without going into too much detail (I wouldn't wish to prejudice the disciplinary procedures that are already underway - it would be quite an unthinkable miscarriage of employment law were he to remain in charge of the Christmas raffle funds after last year's fiasco through my compromising the evidence here..), A. cut a sorry figure. Here before us was a man, once of boundless talent, integrity and principle, but now reduced to a seething mess of frustration and impotence, hamstrung by the twin idiocies of modern bureaucracy and the incomprehensible neologisms of 21st century management-speak and practice (..although oddly enough, I know plenty of other senior health care professionals who have no such difficulty using an Automated Teller Machine....)

Suffice to say that the two-tier service many of us have feared is no longer a distant threat. Successive aggressively monetarist governments, driven by a malicious ideology of liberalisation have imposed rampant market-driven reforms that have led to what is now a privatised service in all but name - and don't think the Tories shouldn't shoulder some of the blame, either.

In response, I happened upon this section from Jonathan Coe's The House of Sleep in which a collection of experienced surgeons, GPs and specialists attend a "Motivating for Change Course":

Now the two course trainers appeared. Their faces were fresh and unformed, and they wore identical, closely fitting Jaeger suits. Each appeared to be in his early twenties and had the vacantly shining eyes of the evangelical zealot.

'Hi: I'm Tim Simpson,' the first one said.

'And I'm Mark McGuire.'

Tim Simpson explained that he had recently returned from a year in Minnesota, where he had majored in Organisational Change at Duluth University. Mark McGuire, on the other hand, boasted a diploma in Group Relations, Meeting Planning and Human Resource Development from the University of Milton Keynes.

'And we're here to talk about change,' said Tim Simpson.

He turned over the first page of a flip-chart, and pointed at the word 'CHANGE', which was written in foot-high capitals.

'That's right,' said Mark McGuire. 'Change is a scary word. And for many of you, these are scary times.' He turned over the next page of the flip-chart, and pointed at the words 'SCARY TIMES'.

'Many of you will be afraid of change,' said Tim Simpson. 'Some of you will even be angry about it. But our message to you over the next two days is going to be - use that fear; work that anger; and above all -'

He glanced at Mark McGuire, who turned over the flip-chart again as they both chanted, in unison 'EMBRACE THE CHANGE.'

Later in the sequence, Coe finds bitter irony in the fact that the most senior practitioner present is forced, by attending the course, to miss an important Home Office meeting at which his presence would have prevented a violent socio/psychopath from being released into the community.

Sound familiar?

The House of Sleep was first published in 1997. I think we've all been sleeping, haven't we?

© 2006 Swipe Enterprises

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