The Curmudgeon


Friday, August 31, 2012

Bringing Service to Life

The nice people at Serco have so efficientised an out-of-hours GP service in Cornwall that visits to accident and emergency departments have risen by a dozen a day. Serco have efficientised the system with a combination of highly advanced call-centre techniques and unilateral adjustments to their legal obligations; in other words, they have replaced medically qualified staff with people who can read a series of questions off a list, and they have been breaking the law. Given successive governments' squeamishness about imposing any legal obligations at all on their favoured profiteers, for fear of a general exodus of thieves and recession-mongers, breaking the law in the privatised health-care racket is probably quite an achievement; but the nice people at Serco seem to have managed it rather nicely. Among other entrepreneurial measures, they have been faking results where targets were missed, and despite their use of cheap labour they have failed to maintain proper levels of personnel. Fortunately, all this is explained by the fact that the new system came in three months ago and has been subject to "teething problems". The nice people at Serco have now discovered the advisability of "working closely with other parts of the NHS to implement the new system of patient management as efficiently as possible", subject as always to shareholders' requirements and fluctuations in the level of acceptable chicanery.


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