You would have to have a very short memory to think that change isn’t occurring all the time. It mainly happens incrementally and we are not aware of it until we look back at the way things were even a few years ago. Mainly change happens in small increments and we may not even be aware of it. If we do realise it is occurring unless it is regarded as obviously harmful to society we just let it happen.
Every now and then these small changes are not enough and we realise that major changes are needed and we need to deliberately start them.
Health seems to be one area where such changes are necessary, not just in individual situations which seem to carry their own momentum for change, but in the way we view our overall attitude towards its provision. At one time I used to get very angry because health care was disease based- tell the doctor your symptoms and he would give you a prescription to cure them. Then it was realised that the path the disease took was reliant on the patient who had it and we gradually changed to our present patient centred treatment.
Our medical world has become much more complicated as we are able to recognise, and treat, so many more illnesses and problems. So complicated that we can’t sit back and let normal evolution in treatment provision take its course. A few years ago a massive earthquake in Christchurch in New Zealand led their health care staff to realise that they were faced with a massive problem and this led to a review of their whole system. What emerged from it was the evolutionary move to patient based care in which the patient and their problems became the centre of the path to recovery. A cost analysis indicated that this would actually provide a cheaper and more successful plan for a better health system than the previous one which was proving to be ever more costly. Basically it provided a better system at a better price. This led other health systems to look at applying this new philosophy to their systems and ultimately to make the change to it themselves.
You would think that other areas that had unsatisfactory and expensive systems would be eager to look at it with a view to applying it to their own situations. Unfortunately this is where human factors come in to it. By the time people get to the top in their areas of work, particularly if it is a public service area where there is no competition in provision, they are many decades away from their early training and are comfortable with what they are doing and don’t want to change. If we add to this national leadership which can’t recognise the benefits of particular major changes, and wield a big stick to bring them about, change is almost impossible.
I believe that this is currently where many health jurisdictions are, such as in the ACT, and change is really hard to accomplish. I hope I am wrong. Otherwise people are suffering unnecessarily and costs are rising when they don’t need to.