Book Review: Excellence in Practice Development

An Introduction to Excellence in Practice Development in Health and Social Care


Rob McSherry and Jerry Warr, Open University Press ISBN 9780335 223213

This book sets out to provide a reference of principles and techniques for those working in social care but, although it does well with the latter, it struggles with the former.

The subject matter is formidable. An exploration of the term “excellence” helps us appreciate the difficulty of defining it satisfactorily, and while the problem of finding suitable frameworks to hang the process of accreditation on is complex, this task is tackled impressively.

But while there is a reference to a Department of Health statement about a “patient-focused NHS” being based on the patients “needs and wishes”, the crucial issue of what should be the most important criterion is not unravelled. Indeed, the argument commonly tends to explore strategies before clearly establishing their value base.

There is considerable resistance at delivery level to the application of the processes that the book upholds, yet there is no attempt to say how this can be addressed. In conclusion, although the subject of this book is inherently complex, more could have been done to enhance its accessibility and convince the sceptical professional of its rationale.

Trevor Carter is an NVQ assessor and verifier for health and social care in Bristol

This review is published in the 2 July issue of Community Care magazine

More from Community Care

Comments are closed.