Poor old NHS – they’ve gone and done it again.

The poor old NHS brand has taken a battering again:

Inquiry needed after shocking NHS failure

“The Healthcare Commission’s report into Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust makes shocking reading. It paints a picture of services which would have disgraced a third world nation.”

I have great sympathy for the NHS in general. As a brand, I’m afraid it does not represent an homogeneous whole.  I used to work for regional health authorities before they were pretty well dismantled to form multiple trusts.  Working with these trusts soon demonstrated the variety of skills, resources and management from the amazingly good to the, frankly, appalling.

One of the most interesting features I came across while carrying out research for Trust branding exercises was the strange schizophrenia with which the public view the NHS – they criticise the service, but then say our doctors and nurses are wonderful. And in spite of the criticism still feel the service is the best in the world.

I had to be a drain on the NHS myself recently for a small operation and was really surprised by the quality of service, professionalism and ‘customer’ care. I have to say that the service hugely exceeded my expectations and it brought home to me the issues Tom Peters discussed in his views of ‘Excellence’ in customer service.  The first issue is that you can say all you want through your marcomms activity, but customer service has to be experienced.  Then excellence of service need to be constantly improving or else the level of service comes to be accepted as the norm.

Poor old NHS…  but you can’t help but think that there is some systemic issue here. I can’t imagine leading private sector organisations allowing there to be such varieaty in the quality of delivery across its operations, branches or subsidiaries.

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