Transforming supervision in health care By Don Mason Cassell 186 pages £14.99

For readers who know the military adage 'Prior preparation and planning prevents poor performance' this book personifies that rule, with at least half dedicated to the issue of preparation - not a bad thing at all.

At a time when the other adage, 'Point, shoot and then aim', seems to encompass so much of developments and action today, it is refreshing to read a publication that places so much emphasis on the necessity to prepare extensively.

Don Mason has put together a framework for the practical design and implementation of a management development programme for supervisory and junior managers.

Drawing on extensive experience in the field, this book serves as a tool for all trainers and senior managers who consider this most vital component of an organisation's resource important enough to invest in.

Here, though, lies the conundrum - for while the framework is comprehensive in its delivery, the rationale behind effective implementation rests with reliance upon toplevel support and continued commitment.

How often do we all hear of great ideas that fall on the rocks of financial constraints? Sadly, one can't help but feel this, too, is where so many of these ideas will arrive.

However, a thorough assimilation of this book should prompt any reflective manager or trainer to consider how best to improve their own practice.

It becomes clear once the preparatory phase is complete that the major areas of emphasis proposed for this type of programme are action learning, project management and learning contracts.

In reality this is not so much innovative, but in keeping with current thinking in this field.

In keeping with current trends, this comes as something of an irony as Mason refers to his approach avoiding the trap of 'continually seeking to import the latest management techniques into the curriculum'.

The book does, however, draw together a clear framework which any trainer would be proud to adopt, and certainly for those who believe in avoiding re-inventing the wheel, this is an excellent tool.

Overall, it is an excellent exposition of best practice.

Peter Buckley Director of service development, St Andrew's Hospital, Northampton.