When I was growing up the Civl Service was regarded as a rather dull, but steady job with a reasonable wage and  decent pension.  It was the butt of many music hall comics and civil servants were portrayed as tea drinking folk who sent out memos in triplicate and used three people to do the work of one! We were all aware of them, but they were largely invisible to the people on the “front line”

When did they begin their insidious encroachment in the management of public service until we reached the present state of “the tail wagging the dog”? How did we arrive at the point when bureaucrats dictate policies to those actually performing the service?

We read about the diktats handed out in education, police and NHS and doubtless other public services.

The only one I had any direct knowledge of was the NHS, other than as a consumer,and this seems to have changed out of all recognition from that in my working years.

We must have had bureaucrats in the background somewhere, but the only management we were aware of were the senior nurses, sisters and matron. These were not shadowy figures without any real authority, but people we saw everyday. They did a lot of paperwork but were not divorced from the day to day care of patients.

Matron or one of her deputies did a round of all the wards every day and organised the staffing levels of nurses and domestic staff and also arranged the three monthly rotation of student nurses.

Each ward had a permanent sister, who knew her ward inside out. She organised the day to day running of the ward, ordered supplies and supervised the nurses and domestic staff, checked all the charts were filled in correctly, liaised with the doctors, served meals and dealt with relatives. In busy times she rolled up her sleeves and joined in the nursing care.

The old style matron would never have countenanced anyone carrying out the most basic care unless they had had at least PTS training, which taught us not only the basic patient care but also to recognise the limits of our knowledge . We were always partnered with someone more senior when we first went on the wards.

The staffing levels, even on night duty on the lightest of wards, were never as dire as those described by Nurse Anne.  i.e. one registered nurse and one untrained assistant!

All the public services seem to be smothering in a blanket of paper work— is this something the bureacrats introduced or have we become such a litigious society that everyone has to cover his back?

When did politicians, “experts”, members of “think tanks” and QANGOs get the authority to over rule the professionals with many years of experience?

We have all seen the results obtained by these “experts” and the chaos they have created over the last thirty years, (this is not something which started with the present government) financial crisis, dirty hospitals, low morale in the NHS, education, the list is endless.

Maybe if they paid attention to the “whistleblowers” and promoted them rather than persecuting them, others might be emboldened to speak out too and the growth of bureaucracy could be halted and reversed so that taxpayers money could be used to pay for safe levels of staff caring for the patients, educating our children and policing our streets,  instead of inflated salaries of an army of “bean  counters “

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