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Driven from efficiency to distraction

BMJ 1996; 312 doi: (Published 23 March 1996) Cite this as: BMJ 1996;312:784
  1. G E P Vincenti

    I once came across a comment by Gaius Petronius, written in the first century AD. “We tend to meet each new situation by reorganising, and a wonderful method this can be for creating the illusion of progress, whilst producing confusion, inefficiency and demoralisation.” When I read this my thoughts turned to the reformed NHS, but recent clinical situations have served to broaden such concerns.

    A teacher came to see me the other day, worn out by the stress of trying to cope with the new educational reforms. His application for early retirement on health grounds was being questioned. I have seen many like him, crushed by the demands for ever more work and ever higher standards of performance. At first he had been pleased to comply, …

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