Published: 05/12/2002, Volume112 No. 5834 Page 35

By Max Moullin Publisher: Open University Press. ISBN: 0335208886.

240 pages.£19.99 paperback (hardback also available).

'Quality matters, ' says NHS Modernisation Agency director David Fillingham in the foreword to this book. But this raises questions such as 'what do we mean by quality?', 'how do we measure it?' and 'how can we work to improve it?'

Delivering Excellence in Health and Social Care is a guide to these questions and some of the management strategies evolved to deal with them, rather than a set of easy answers.

Quality, as ever, proves hard to pin down - even though the book spends 20 pages discussing approaches to defining it and the different perspectives from which it might be viewed.

Moullin, a senior lecturer in total quality management and organisational excellence at the school of business and finance at Sheffield Hallam University, really comes into his own when dealing with quality 'buzzwords' and theories.

There are clear explanations ofconcepts such as total quality management, the theories of quality 'gurus' and the plethora of quality standards and systems, such as ISO9001.

The second section of the book deals with the European Foundation for Quality Management excellence model - what it is and how to use it - with NHS examples. The third section deals with other aspects of performance measurement.

Mr Fillingham describes Moullin's approach as 'comprehensive and thorough'.

This is not a book to flick through. But it is clear, and it finishes with a comforting thought. 'In essence', the approach outlined is not that difficult.