Firstly, there is the simple and well known fact that when any issue is made for the target of attention behaviour towards it change. This is in the case of physics an idea enshrined in the uncertainty principle. In management it is well known that the moment you measure something it is automatically assumed that the issue has a higher priority than other issues. Inevitably, and almost invariably because management really do only measure things that are important to them, real on the ground behaviour changes to improve recorded performance. So, managers will undoubtedly be increasing their efforts to promote private medicine as a result.
Second, and as obviously, directors of NHS trusts also want to appease those to whom they report – which are not really the communities they serve but are actually the NHS’s senior management and, in turn, Jeremy Hunt, whose reputation for micro- management is well known. That means they too will really focus on this issue.
So the NHS cannot in fact be managed at all, can it? Not by targets, not by anything?