8.1 One of the rooms in the main office block is a well-equipped surgery staffed by one nurse and one qualified medical practitioner. We asked how he came to be working here, his duties, and views on The Partnership.
8.2 He said: "Iíve been attending this clinic on a regular basis for eleven years now, my predecessor manned the place on the same terms and conditions for most of his working life. His predecessor did the same. Thereís a Spirit in this place: something that makes you glad youíre here. Like the way the partners care for their handicapped people. Iíve been asked to work with several of the partners on occasion to adapt a working environment to a particular personís disability and the ongoing results have been very satisfying."
8.3 "This clinic is open two days per week for four hours each day. Any extra work required is arranged privately. The Partnership requires me to practice preventive medicine like liaising with the factory manager in order to minimise work-related disabilities by such methods as job rotation, jig design or posture control. Itís hard to evaluate the success of these efforts. We have considerably less back- related problems here than outside, but this could well be due to other factors: there is less sickness of every sort here than in the general population, but the opinion is that this is largely due to psychosomatic causes rather than to our efforts in this clinic. We attribute the lower incidence of stomach ulcers to less mental stress. Retarded partners are not regarded as sick or significantly different from other partners - they have jobs reserved for them that allow them to work to their potential."
8.4 "If a partner gets sick, the first question asked is ĎWhy? Why didnít the medic prevent this?í and to a degree I am held responsible."
8.5 "Iím not a partner, although the nurse is. I am paid on an hourly basis as a consultant."
8.6 "I donít qualify as a partner since I donít work the required number of hours per week. Also I have a substantial and very lucrative practice outside that I wish to retain. The nurse does much of the routine work during the week and screens the work that I have to do - in a very real way I do as she tells me. In times of crisis, we work very effectively with the other partners."
8.7 We indicated our interest, so he proceeded: "Iíve personally witnessed how the partners operate during a crisis, and I understand from my predecessor that a similar behavioural pattern has been exhibited during earlier crises. A bus full of people crashed out of control off the main road into our property and overturned. People were trapped and screaming and there was danger of a fire. The closest partners co-ordinated other partners, the nurse and myself. Almost without words two people assigned themselves to us as additional help. There seemed to be an uncanny co-ordination that enabled people to work simultaneously. Within minutes fire extinguishers were on the scene from the factory, The Partnershipís mobile crane was in position assisting the oxy cutting team, and I was able to attend to the seriously injured and the nurse to the minor injuries in minimum time. By the time the ambulances and fire engines arrived, the situation was well under control. Never before or since have I witnessed such teamwork, such appropriate leadership swing, such utilisation of resources, such Christianity in action. What a force they could be in a war - but they are pacifists, and thatís another story."
8.8 I noticed the absence of most of the governmentís health insurance forms so conspicuous in most surgeries, and asked how this simplicity came to be. He replied: "It allows me to spend most of my time doing that for which I was trained. The partners here have only the minimum insurance required by the law; hence the paper-work is significantly reduced. The Partnership carries its own insurance wherever possible, and the partners have The Partnership carry their insurance wherever possible. For example, the standard Partnership car owned by each partner is insured with The Partnership."
8.9 "This plant has an enviable safety record," continued the medic. "The compulsory insurance premiums paid are largely wasted since the amount paid out has always been far greater than the amount received. My understanding is that this situation is due to the mutual love and care exhibited in practical ways by the partners. Also, it is in their interests to see that the partners are healthy and happy. Many outside industrialists with a worse safety record maintain that the prime cause for our superior safety record is mutual economic interest, but Iíve been here long enough to know that the reasons are more likely to be associated with the real underlying love and care between the partners."
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From The Partnership, by Graeme Doel.
Converted to HTML by Simon Grant, 2003.