Running a hospital is like running a business. True or False?

Running a hospital is a highly complex job and we’ve seen corporate types on telly try to do this and fail, so are there any similarities or not? Like a business a hospital needs to keep its costs under control. So cost management is necessary. An hospital’s income comes from the State- well tax payers -so no similarities here. Operationally an hospital needs to manage staff, buildings, and of course the provision of patients and what patients are in hospital for in the first place – the similarities now start to drift further apart. Businesses have customers to look after but these pay for their services and if they get more customers, then a business can flex up its operations accordingly – which means businesses are a lot more flexible to adjust to their circumstances.

Polly Toynbe sums up the job of running a hospital that is worthwhile repeating:

“Balancing agonisingly tight finance with good quality will be phenomenally difficult, requiring honesty about hard choices ahead. The danger is that NHS enemies will seize on the current crunch to declare the service broken. But they should remember how Danny Boyle’s Olympic spirit revealed a strength of public passion they defy at their peril.”

Have your say. Is running a hospital like running a business?

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