Tuesday, 7 June 2011

The NHS and red tape

O Brave New World! that has no bureaucrats in it.  What a winner it seems like to get rid of silly management personnel who make up jobs to keep themselves in salaries, thus freeing up much needed cash for 'front line services'.  

We have a similar set-up in Higher Education.  There are very few administrators in most university departments, and those few are the subject of constant grumbling about their inefficiency, athough there is less interest in the low pay which means they are mainly women, poorly trained and often moving on to new jobs.  
What this means is that academics take on the pleasurable task of ministering to their own departments.  World expert in race politics?  Ideal candidate to oversee the refurbishment of office space and make a nuisance of yourself insisting that all wood used in shelving thereof is from sustainable forests (true story).  In addition to responsibility for inculcating knowledge in the heads of several hundred students, and conducting research to ensure the continuing progress of the human race, most academics have to take on managerial jobs for which they have little training, no aptitude and less than zero appetite.  A typical contract might be:  40% teaching, 40% research, 20% administration.  Never mind that the admin job could be done more efficiently and more cheaply by someone with secretarial qualifications rather than a PhD - academics can be persuaded to work long hours of overtime and increase their stress levels knowing they are doing their admin job badly, by the threat that if money is diverted to administrative staff it will mean less for academic (front line) staff.  
I am sure that GPs can hardly wait.  

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