NHS Boat Race

This fairy tale was sent to me for publication. It’s sender asked to remain anonymous…

Once upon a time it was resolved to have a boat race between a Japanese team and a team representing the British National Health Service (NHS). Both teams practised long and hard to reach their peak performance. On the day the Japanese team won by a mile.

Afterwards, the NHS team became very discouraged by the result and morale sagged. Senior Management decided that the reason for the crushing defeat had to be found and a working party was set up to investigate the problem and recommend appropriate action.

Their conclusion was that the Japanese team had eight people rowing and one person steering, while the NHS team had one person rowing and eight people steering.

Senior Management immediately hired a consultant company at great expense to do a study on the team’s structure. Millions of pounds and several months later they concluded at a press conference that, Too many people were steering and not enough were rowing. To prevent losing to the Japanese team next year the team structure was changed to three Assistant Steering Managers, three Steering Managers, one Executive Steering Manager and a Director of Steering Services. A performance and appraisal system was set up to give the person rowing the boat more incentive to work harder.

The next year the Japanese team won by an even larger distance. The NHS laid off the rower for poor performance, sold off all the paddles, cancelled all capital investment for new equipment and halted development of a new canoe. The money saved was used to fund higher than average pay awards to Senior Management.

Of course, this is only a fairy story, isn’t it?