Posted by: Witch Doctor | October 9, 2008

Lord Darzi’s little helpers

“For companies like my own, which specialises in strategic consultancy to the public sector, change presents significant commercial opportunities.”

Carol Brooks, Joint managing director Organisation Development Services.

I know The Witch Doctor understands all this, but The Oldest Sage Witch is easily bamboozled.

It upsets her if she doesn’t know what’s going on behind the scenes.

The NHS “helpers” bamboozle her most of all.

Who are they?

Are they private companies?

Who pays for them?

What profits do they make?

Why are they employed at all?

You see, The Oldest Sage Witch has this quaint notion that the taxes she pays that are destined for the NHS should go towards buildings, staff, drugs and equipment very closely related to the hands-on diagnosis and treatment of patients.

The Oldest Sage Witch is wondering if the money she THINKS is being used for the NHS is finding it’s way to bolster the small business economy as well as some multinationals.

The Oldest Sage Witch has the notion that her taxes shouldn’t go towards funding little helpers whose role seems to be to overcome cynicism, provide energy, and spark enthusiasm. To her this seems like icing a cardboard cake which can’t be eaten.

What if the citizens of this land insisted their taxes were used to BAKE the cake rather than ice the cardboard?

Or maybe it’s more like watering flowers.

Our money goes in, pours out the holes in the leaky NHS hose-pipe to fund the little helpers leaving only what is left to reach the flowers patients.

What if the citizens of this land insisted their taxes were used to water all the flowers?

I wonder how many little helpers there were in Aneurin Bevin’s day.

Here’s one of The Darzi NHS helpers who is moving over to join an NHS partner so he can become a different sort of helper.

All very confusing for an old witch!


  1. If you ask for advice on what is required from people who get paid for managing change they will unsurprisingly recommend change. They will also say that all those working in the NHS will be opposed to change and that because of this their expertise will be needed. The supposedly all powerful hospital consultants will be blamed for digging their heels in and opposing necessary advances.

    Quite a lot of this is, of course, nonsense. Those on the shop floor like some sorts of change. They like real advances but not change just for the sake of change. In our hospital change was led from the shop floor, was welcomed by consultants and resulted in better care and greater efficiency.

    As far as innovation is concerned the UK has punched above its weight with developments ranging from hip replacements to MRI. The slow adoption of the major advances that have been made in the NHS has been the result of underfunding or, currently, the money being wasted on outside private operations ranging from change consultancy to PFI, CfH and sundry other ‘innovations’.

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