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A faulty production line

Formula 1 is poetry in motion - shame the NHS couldn't perform as well

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It was great watching Lewis Hamilton winning the British Grand Prix for the third time in his Formula 1 career. There’s no doubt Lewis and all the other F1 drivers are incredibly skilled and can make a car do things that Newton’s laws of motion would struggle with. Of course at the pinnacle of motorsport you would expect nothing less.

That said, the driver is always the first to point out they are only the visible part of a very big team of many hundreds of people consisting of race engineers, mechanics, designers, software writers and numerous other specialities.  

The driver is just one cog in an incredibly expensive machine (although admittedly a big one, taking all the risks). But ultimately, all the cogs mesh together, turning together and striving for success. It is poetry in motion.

Now imagine if the NHS were a team trying to get into Formula 1.

The team principal would be viewed as arrogant and out of touch by the workforce. The engineers would be expected to work seven days a week even though most of their essential support services only worked Monday to Friday. Each section in the factory would use incompatible design software that couldn’t communicate with each other and after months of work when it came to bolt the engine into the chassis they’d find the bolt holes didn’t quite line up and it would have to be botched.

To top all that, the driver would have so many forms to fill in before and after driving the car he would hardly have any track time. Before every race he’d be attending courses on resilience training, which is just as well - he’d be black and blue by the end, because budget cuts meant there would be no driving seat.

The only lucrative part of the team would be the PR department, who’d they’d be working flat out on glossy press releases saying how great the car was despite the fact it only had three wheels and the aerodynamic capabilities of a house brick.  

The mechanics would keep saying the car is rubbish, but the team principal would shout them down saying they were lazy and had a rubbish union.

Sounds a bit like the real NHS - except in our machine, the cogs don’t turn together.

Dr Hadrian Moss is a GP in Kettering, Northamptonshire. You can tweet him at @DrHMoss.

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Readers' comments (4)

  • Team NHS would be a wacky races go kart with bits falling off and 5 people riding behind the driver with clipboards and megaphones to advise on how best to drive.
    There would be some tech however - an old windows XP machine would be recording metrics onto a flashing GANT chart that froze every time someone moves the mouse.

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  • Nhsfatcat

    Fun and funny piece, but the crap NHS finish more 'races' than highly tuned fragile flashy systems! Broken down private sector issues have to be towed back to the garage by the NHS!

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  • Team NHS has all the right components to win the race but is under-fuelled and the wheels keep falling off due to cutting corners on account of efficiency savings! Bit like Teams Ferrari and MacLaren currently - world's best F1 drivers but they just don't have the right resource.

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  • Bob Hodges

    The Formula 1 pit crew :

    a) Only has to change one set of tyres on one car at a time
    b) Gets warning when the car is coming in
    c) Doesn't have to apply for funding for tires before changing them.
    d) Doesn't have to change all 18 cars' tyres one after the other because the pit crew: car ratio is 1:2 not 1:1800.
    e) Gets time to practice because it doesn't spend 12 hours per day changing tyres under race conditions.

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