'I just want my toe fixed'

Paul Brooke

Friday, 14th December 2018, 5:59 am
Updated Friday, 14th December 2018, 7:32 am
Trees have been felled in Dore, Sheffield

Meersbrook, S8

In reply to a piece featured on December 6, '˜Felling less trees over a longer time', featuring Cllr Lewis Dagnall. Cllr Dagnall refers to compromise and I thought I would take the opportunity to share a modern 'parable' for today on the subject of compromise and contracted services. (We'll hear a lot about compromise, so it's worth considering).

A man went to a local GP run clinic recently, with an in-growing toenail. After a brief consultation during which his toe was barely looked at, one Dr told another to book him in for a double leg amputation. The man was somewhat perturbed so went for a second opinion.

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The next Dr, an independent expert in these matters, said he just needed minor surgery to his toe but that he couldn't do the work because his clinic did not have the contract from the NHS commissioning group.

The man looked into it a bit more and found out that the first clinic was a private enterprise which had a performance based contract for foot replacement. The man became suspicious and returned to challenge them over their planned treatment. "I just want you to fix my toe" he said. The rather annoyed Dr informed him that a double leg amputation would prevent any further problems with his toes but that after careful consideration he was prepared to compromise. He offered to remove only the one problematic leg. "That's ridiculous" the man said "just fix my toenail". "Look" said the Dr "you have to be prepared to compromise or we'll get nowhere. I won't remove the leg but I have a contract specification for foot replacement, so OK, as a final offer of compromise, I'm prepared just to remove your foot"

The lessons in this story? Compromise does not mean meeting in the middle, (or even at the hip, knee or ankle). Working together to solve a problem is a process of collaboration or co-production that we tend to call compromise.