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Means to an End

24 October 2013

In the most simple of terms the supply of a product or a service is a means to an end.

If the end delivers, the means is rarely scrutinised.  Why, because all customers regardless of what it is they purchase are truly interested in one thing alone and that is the end result. 

It is only when the end does not deliver the consumer starts drilling to detail around the means…, and it is within this context, that we are currently witnessing unprecedented levels of scrutiny within the NHS.

As a consequence of Francis and Keogh, the agenda is now firmly and squarely planted around the quality agenda and the overall patient experience.

Last week, I had the pleasure of listening to Helene Donnelly who in my opinion gave a very brave and inspirational talk about her experiences of working as a staff nurse at Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust between 2002 and 2008.  What Helene had to say resonated with me and I am confident will continue to do so. 

A recent Radio 4 article suggested that in order to achieve customer delight, companies must tailor their solutions to suit the needs of the individual because the era of mass production and one-size-fits-all have all but gone.

Perhaps, the NHS must think more like this too – is there a one size fits all model of delivery for the NHS that works across the whole of the country?  I don’t think so.  Perhaps it is time to think about experimenting with the current system and seek some variety within the existing structure, rather than looking for the answers in structural reform, to investigate what potential and emergent models of care can be developed.

Sarah Lovell, Consultant

Sarah is a Consultant in the Healthcare Practice, read Sarah's profile.

Categories: Healthcare


Harry at 24/10/2013 17:24 said:

I often see companies, authors or consultants promoting the idea of delighting, or thrilling or exciting customers. That's not a bad aspiration, but the number 1 focus has to be delivering your core services/products well, with careful attention to all basic processes and touch-points. Unless you do the fundamental things well and make it easy for your customers (or in this case patients) to work with you, then problems will arise. Once you're doing a consistently good job of executing your core proposition, then you can move forward. I'm not a healthcare professional, nor do I have a drum to bang - in fact my interactions with the NHS have generally been very good - but it appears to me that some fundamental issues remain unresolved.