Health Policy Insight
Healthcare management online analysis and intelligence
The home of UK health policy

HPI Content

The Maynard Doctrine: Defining low-value care - free lunches and the absence thereof

Health economist Professor Alan Maynard reports not on Lib Dem education policy, but on the latest outburst of magical policy thinking

“There’s no such thing as a free lunch”
Clinical commissioning groups are under continuous pressure from patient groups, clinicians and others to expand services. As a patient, I have great sympathy with such advocacy, provide it is evidence based of course.

Editorial Thursday 5 June 2014: Thoughts on NHS Confederation conference, day two

Publish Date/Time: 
06/05/2014 - 10:03

You can say (or indeed sing what you like about Care Services Minister Norman Lamb, but he's honest about his desire for the Lib Dem manifesto to commit to a top-down redisorganisation of the NHS when the inevitable electoral landslide next May sweeps a triumphant Prime Minister Nick Clegg into Downing Street with a majority of 53.

Editorial Wednesday 4 June 2014: Thoughts on NHS Confederation conference, day one

Publish Date/Time: 
06/04/2014 - 15:24

Some quick reactions to the first day of the conference.

Rob Webster gave a human, personal and well-judged speech in his first conference as Confed CE, warning that the time has come for burning ambition to replace burning platforms. Praising colleagues' success in the achievements of sustaining care quality over years of flat funding,

Webster called for ambition, determination and realism among the political leaders in the lengthy trundle to the next general election.

This isn't just a crap speech; it's an ex-M&S boss crap speech

Editorial Wednesday 4 June 2014: Text of NHS England CE Simon Stevens' speech to NHS Confederation conference

Publish Date/Time: 
06/04/2014 - 10:52


Simon Stevens, CEO, NHS England

A link to the version with key graphics on NHS England's website is here.

We meet here in Liverpool at a defining moment in the history of our National Health Service.

The Maynard Doctrine: “In God we trust. All others bring data”

Health economist Professor Alan Maynard reviews mainstream healthcare reform strategies’ cyclical and unfocused nature, and suggests some potentially effective approaches instead.

The reluctance of managers and policymakers in public and private healthcare systems to use data and evidence is remarkable. In a world nominally governed by achievement of objectives such as efficiency, equity and expenditure control, decision-makers blunder around repeating the errors of yesteryear and usually being paid large salaries for their failures.

Policymaking by myopic politicians

Editor's blog Tuesday 3 June 2014: Norman Lamb: The Song

Publish Date/Time: 
06/03/2014 - 19:11

Unsurprisingly, The Simon Burns Song provoked a Twitter request for a companion piece dedicated to Care Services Minister Norman Lamb.

Politicians are, after all, only human.

Norman is a man I like, and this is a request I was happy to take.

Norman Lamb

The glasses channel Michael Caine, back in The Ipcress File.

Editorial Monday 2 June 2014: Evolve faster, NHS! On Ian Birrell's curious commentary.

Publish Date/Time: 
06/02/2014 - 10:53

'The NHS must evolve - or face a painful death' is the title of perhaps the worst commentary I've recently seen by a supposedly serious commentator on the NHS. It is by Ian Birrell, a journalist and former speechwriter for David Cameron.

Editorial Wednesday 21 May 2014: Text of Simon Stevens' speech to Kings Fund leadership summit

Publish Date/Time: 
05/21/2014 - 09:28

I said on my first day in this new job that five years in to the longest period of austerity the Health Service has ever seen, the stakes for the NHS have never been higher.

So far our main response to NHS budget pressures has been an enormous and successful collective effort to keep the show on the road, doing what we’ve mostly always done, but considerably more efficiently.

That’s been vital in sustaining the results that matter for our patients. So we owe a huge debt of gratitude to the staff of the NHS for what has been achieved, under often difficult circumstances.

Editorial Wednesday 21 May 2014: Notes from Simon Stevens & Jeremy Hunt's speeches at NHS Clinical Commissioners

Publish Date/Time: 
05/21/2014 - 08:51

Below are my semi-finished notes from the NHS Clinical Commissioners conference appearances by Simon Stevens and Jeremy Hunt. Drawn from my tweets, so a bit rough in places, but hopefully of interest.

Simon Stevens live at NHS Clinical Commissioners Annual Conference
NHS England’s new chief executive was introduced by NHSCC president Charles Alessi, who told delegates “Simon Stevens has come home”. (Like football in 1996?)