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The Perils of Industrialised Healthcare

Author: David Zigmond

The King's Fund's report Reforming the NHS from Within questions the wisdom of decades of structural reform within the NHS. Its author, Professor Chris Ham, argues that a confused cocktail of markets, regulations and targets has detracted from more positive possibilities. He offers a more human account of the kinds of changes that would help strengthen the NHS.

But does the King's Fund's critique go far enough?

David Zigmond argues that there are even graver issues to consider. The National Health Service, at its best is about supporting and sustaining thoughtful, caring and knowledgeable relationships between professionals and citizens. But too many managerial initiatives undermine agency and harm relationships. Treating staff like robots, or patients like items on a conveyor belt, is dehumanising and dangerous. 

Much more attention needs to be given to the factors that strengthen our relationships:

  • Doing things at a human scale - not progressively more giant
  • Working with trust and flexibility - not meaningless regulations
  • Providing security and freedom - not financial penalties and incentives

Zigmond's work explores the limits of industrialised healthcare and calls for fresh thinking about how to restore and protect the human dimension of the NHS.

Read and download the free pdf in your browser here.


The publisher is the Centre for Welfare Reform.

The Perils of Industrialised Healthcare © David Zigmond 2019.

All Rights Reserved. No part of this paper may be reproduced in any form without permission from the publisher except for the quotation of brief passages in reviews.

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