Gordon Brown, the former British Prime Minister was obsessed with setting targets and his obsession helped remove humanity from public life and in particular to destroy the health service.
It is because of Brown that public services have been afflicted by an absurd and dangerous ‘target culture’.
Brown seemed to believe that if you give public servants targets they will work harder and provide a better service. Indeed, like any good soviet dictator, Brown seems to believe that he only had to announce a target for it to become an achievement.
Brown set spending review targets (known as public service agreements or PSAs) which cover the performance of all the major government departments and which set highly complex and specific criteria for the way in which public servants are assessed. The PSAs cover everything from exam results to crime figures and cancer rates.
What Brown didn’t realise (possibly because of a lack of much genuine work experience – he’s been an MP since the age of 32) is that when you give public servants targets they will concentrate on satisfying those targets to the exclusion of everything else. Self-preservation takes over, the target becomes the aim and the focus, and the welfare and indeed the existence of the public, the individual, the person, the end user, the patient, the client, the poor taxpayer hoping to get some service for their money, goes out of the window, never to be seen again. The end result is a massive fraud. Public servants are encouraged to cheat the public in order to get promoted and to receive bonus payments.
Read more: How Gordon Brown Helped Destroy the NHS