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I’ve just come out of hospital and want to renew my crusade against “service levels”, not because they are irrelevant – I’m sure there is a place for “portion controls” even if the word heads my list of least favorite phrases in the English language. But all too often “service levels” and the accompanying bureaucratic ticking of boxes, serve only to obscure the real care and help that should be supplied.

My room was cleaned with Prussian regularity, lavatory pans marked with special tapes to celebrate each cleansing act, jugs sealed with plastic wraps, my bed made and remade and forms carefully ticked and signed. But I was in great pain and I just wanted someone to stay with me for a second, to show some sympathy, to touch me with a little kindness. I wanted help. Frankly I wanted a little love.

I felt the same anger when I read the consultant’s market report today. It was beautifully packaged, neat, well typed, nothing you could really complain about. But I wanted opinion, insight, above all, would they put their money into the deal and, if not, why not? All the service levels were there, nothing to complain about – it was just no help.

Yours ever,