This morning the Public Accounts Committee published a coruscating report on the continuing problems that HM Revenue and Customs have in answering the telephone.
On Saturday thousands marched through North London to protest at changes in the services offered by the Whittington Hospital.
What links these two events?
The answer is a former car parts company, Unipart, that now sells its services in promoting “efficiency” to public bodies.
Unipart advises the Whittington Hospital on how to cut its costs and shed staff. One of the major proposals management there is implementing is to change the way in which the public can “interface with” the Hospital.
Excessive delays in answering the phone by HMRC are serious, but they are not usually life-threatening.
Answering telephone calls from patients and their relatives in a hospital may be.
The danger is efficiency proposals that work well in an industrial setting may not be suited to a public service on which the lives and well-being of people depend.