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Editor's blog 17th September 2008: Moral hazard in healthcare

Publish Date/Time: 
09/17/2008 - 16:33

Standing in the Halifax today, waiting to pay in a cheque (I love to swim against the tide), I was reflecting on the current havoc of the financial markets and some things that it means for healthcare.

One thing that it means is that a lot of highly numerate graduate calibre people will be looking for jobs due to the contraction of the investment banking and private equity businesses.

Changing in front of our very eyes: the Lib Dems strike a new political pose – Health Policy Today, 16 September 2008

Publish Date/Time: 
09/16/2008 - 16:33

Tom Smith returns with a discussion of the day's political and policy vogue.

Editor's blog 16th September 2008: Lord Carter, chair of NHS Co-operation and Competition Panel

Publish Date/Time: 
09/16/2008 - 13:16

So what's new today? Apart from the downfall of free market capitalism and the end of the world as we know it? And no, I don't feel fine, I've got a slight ache in my wrist.

Well, I thought it would be good to find out a bit about the background of Patrick Carter - Lord Carter of Coles, the inaugural chair of the new NHS Co-operation and Competition Panel. So I did, and you can read it here.

Coles to a new castle: Patrick Carter, chair of the new NHS Co-operation and Competition Panel

Publish Date/Time: 
09/16/2008 - 13:04

by Andy Cowper, editor, Health Policy Insight

Meet Patrick Robert Carter - Lord Carter of Coles, a Labour peer. He co-founded and sold Westminster Healthcare, ‘saved’ the Wembley Stadium rebuild, strongly supports Titan prisons, chairs a big list of government committees, lives in Islington and was Jack Straw’s best man at both of his weddings. He is 62.

He’s also the inaugural chair of the new NHS Co-operation and Competition Panel, which may make him the fourth most important person in the NHS.

Editor's blog 15th September 2008: Tax breaks for health?

Publish Date/Time: 
09/15/2008 - 15:22

Welcome to another fine week in health policy. Don't mention the imminent implosion of free-market capitalism.

The new Maynard Doctrine is now online, in which Alan Maynard suggests that there may be a thing or two wrong with drug pricing and with the relationship between 'the industry' and medical education.

Scandalous thinking!

Elsewhere today, you will find a new feature about the Lib Dems' health policy at their party conference.

Tax breaks for health? Policy update from the 2008 Lib Dem party conference

Publish Date/Time: 
09/15/2008 - 15:26

by Andy Cowper, editor, Health Policy Insight

The Liberal Democrats go into the party conference season as the only major Westminster party trying to sell its members (and by extension, the electorate) a major shift in policy. They are the only party promising to cut taxes overall.

And their able deputy leader and finance spokesman Vincent Cable, in an un-leaked announcement in his speech, has suggested that more may be afoot of a tax cut even than their existing promise.

The Maynard Doctrine: Suckling the NHS ‘piglets’ - the case of the drug dealers

The NHS is like a large sow with many teats, from which provider piglets draw succour. One of the most robust piglets in the sty is the pharmaceutical industry.

Take, for instance, the current debate about 'co-payments' for cancer patients. With NICE declining some products of marginal cost-effectiveness, industry is encouraging its compatriots in the medical profession and elsewhere to demand that where patients buy treatments declined by NICE, the administration of the drugs should be provided by the NHS.

Taxpayers' Alliance want more statism on NHS pay: Health Policy Today, 11th September 2008

Publish Date/Time: 
09/11/2008 - 18:02

In Tom Smith's temporary absence, Health Policy Today is a somewhat less full round-up than usual, but one story stuck out so much this had to appear.

Taxpayers' Alliance want NHS wages policy on managers' pay: Health Policy Today, 11th September 2008

It may seem strange, but it’s true. Today’s Daily Telegraph reports that the Taxpayers’ Alliance (slogan: campaigning for lower taxes and better government) have both been hiding their statist light under a highly convincing pro-market bushel.

Editor's blog 11 September 2008: An impressive debate starts the rationing ball rolling

Publish Date/Time: 
09/11/2008 - 13:10

by Andy Cowper, editor, Health Policy Insight

You know the old joke about mergers – ‘a merger is like two porcupines making love – it should be done carefully and slowly’?

Kings Fund debate 11 September 2008. What is fair – should patients be allowed to top up their care?

Publish Date/Time: 
09/11/2008 - 13:04

Kings Fund debate 11 September 2008. What is fair – should patients be allowed to top up their care?

by Andy Cowper, editor, Health Policy Insight

This morning saw me out of bed disgustingly early to get the Kings Fund for their latest debate, What is fair: should patients be allowed to top up their NHS care?
Moderated by Kings Fund chief executive Niall Dixon, the panel of Andrew Dillon (NICE), Jo Webber (NHS Confederation), Karol Sikora (CancerPartnersUK and Reform) and Martin Gore (Royal Marsden) covered the issues thoroughly and thoughtfully.