EDITOR’S LETTER : Ubiquitous Management

What are the building blocks of management? Information, planning, communication, monitoring… there are myriad of theories and as many different ways of organising and implementing them.
One thing is constant though – that pretty much everything we do, see and hear is managed to some extent. Supermarkets have managers, we have managers at work, the gym has manager, someone manages the facilities you use when you’re on holiday, someone manages the dentist, the doctor, your children’s school, your household.
The whole country is managed (and no, this isn’t discussion of by whom or how well).
A few more pages into this magazine (page 30), we take look at the management of the country’s health system.
The thing I find interesting is not the politics about who should fund what and so on, but how much information, accountability and input should we, as shareholders and funders, demand. My simple answer: not so much that reporting back stifles time and resources which would be better applied to the organisation, but definitely more than we currently have.
We demand more information on companies in which we choose to invest our money than we do from our health system. As shareholder in listed company, for example, you have the right to annual reports, updates, financial statements, director disclosure notices to name just few.
What do you get as shareholder in the public health system? Okay – you can elect the politicians who oversee it, but only once every three years, and only if you haven’t been overcome by voter apathy. Then we pretty much have to leave it to them to ensure oversight. I can’t see us doing that with $10,000 of shares.
Before I read the health system story, I didn’t know how much of the Government’s budget went on the health system. I do now and I’m going to try and take closer interest in sector which will be part of all our lives at some stage. It’s matter of taking personal responsibility for gathering information.
Surely just being aware of media coverage surrounding management and governance issues at the Hawke’s Bay District Health Board and with Auckland’s laboratory contracts, of funding debates around different pharmaceutical products on offer, is enough to engage everyone’s interest in the management of the health system.

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