International Journal of Applied Quality Management (ISSN: 1742-2647) Volume 1 Issue 2
Far too often in both public and private sector organisations one is faced with the problem of not merely the determination of what constitutes “Quality” within organisations, but also with the fact that Senior Management invariably indulges in the paradox of preaching the virtues of Total Quality Management and quality services while simultaneously demonstrating what could be construed as either an unwillingness or inability to support their words with appropriate deeds.
Any organisation or indeed any part of an organisation which sets setting out on the path leading to TQM, has to face up to the fact that they must fulfil certain basic criteria to embark on that journey. They need to determine what is quality; what are the agreed principles of TQM; how to differentiate between an ordinary and quality management system, coupled with its key elements.
Fortunately, help is at hand; if the organisation is dedicated to quality
as an integral part of its culture and daily operations, then there are countless
check lists available by which appropriate measurements can be undertaken.
Not least among these lists are various views of what constitute the basic principles of TQM. Although there are differences of opinion, the main views could be collectivised in an insistence that any TQM approach is management-led; the scope of TQM should be organisation-wide; everyone should be responsible and accountable for the quality of their operations; the mainspring of TQM philosophy should be characterised by the pursuit of prevention not detection; the basic measurement standard should be right first time; the actual cost of quality should be its primary control; and the overarching theme should be one of continuous improvement.
From the foregoing it can quickly be determined that a number of “key elements” can be identified with relation to TQM. Any Public Sector Manager can feel secure in the utilisation of the under-mentioned twelve points as a check list which must be addressed if the intention is to attempt to implement TQM within their organisation.
All developed countries have in place some more or less comprehensive system for ensuring that their citizens have access to health care. The UK has a health care system under which the funding of the provision of health care and the management of that provision comes from the state.
NHS expenditure, therefore, constitutes about 1/8 of all public spending in the UK. The administration of this vast organisation is a decentralised one wherein the Department of Health does not administer the NHS but allocates money to health authorities which have the prime operational responsibility for the Service. The funds allocated come from the annual public expenditure round in which the spending departments of the state agree with the Treasury how much is to be assigned to particular public programmes.
The essence of this is, therefore, a global budget from which a range of services has to be provided via a decentralised system.
To appreciate these issues it is necessary to understand some of the specific details of NHS expenditure:
The nature of the changes facing, and indeed impacting upon, the NHS at this moment in time can be said to include the following:
The following case study is intended to demonstrate how the journey towards becoming a TQM organisation can begin.