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Editorial Monday 19 May 2014: Freaking out about Levitt and Dubner's hog-whimperingly silly health policy proposals

Publish Date/Time: 
05/19/2014 - 15:59

I bought, read and enjoyed the book 'Freakonomics' by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner. Pithily-written, fun and with some interesting analysis, it made a good read. I didn't get its successor 'Super-Freakonomics', because I suspected that its trailed thesis on using a stratoshield to solve global warming was nonsense.

Editorial Monday 12 May 2014: Text of Ed Miliband's speech on Labour health policy

Publish Date/Time: 
05/12/2014 - 19:18

Commentary to follow: for the time being, here is the copy of Ed Miliband's speech today setting out the latest glimpse of Labour's health policy.

Ed Miliband MP, Leader of the Labour Party: A few weeks ago, I did something unusual for a politician.

I spent two nights with the staff and patients of an NHS hospital in Watford, a few miles outside London.

Sitting in on the clinics.

Spending time on the wards.

Going out with the paramedics.

Talking to the staff and to the patients.

Not a visit where you swoop in and out.

Editorial Wednesday 16 April 2014: Working smarter - National Hunt winter racing, and horses for courses

Publish Date/Time: 
04/15/2014 - 20:30

My Lords, Ladies and gentlemen, NHS comrades (and regulators),

I have received some comments about the relative infrequency of Health Policy Insight posts of late. Thank you for your concern. I am fine, and indeed still hold opinions and do analysis about the NHS. It's just a question of time available.

Editorial Friday 4 April 2014: On Senior Healthcare Job Exit Logorrhea Syndrome

Publish Date/Time: 
04/04/2014 - 22:31

Gosh my old boots.

Outgoing (as in leaving) RCP supremo Sir Richard Thompson has given The Guardian an exit interview in which he says the quality of some NHS clinical care is a bit shit because clinicians are too busy.

Well, thank Christ he didn't notice it during the entire period he was in post as the president of the representative body.

Who knows what might have happened?

Editorial Thursday 3 April 2014: Fantasy reform scenario planning with Dylan or The Dame?

Publish Date/Time: 
04/03/2014 - 16:32

In 'Stuck Outside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again', Bob Dylan wrote "And here I sit so patiently, waiting to find what price/You have to pay to get out of going through all these things twice". It's a good line.

However, Dylan also later wrote "Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle like a bowl of soup", which cancelled the former line out, and proves that you can't trust Bob Dylan as a seer.

Editorial Tuesday 1 April 2014: "Think like a patient, act like a taxpayer" - Simon Stevens' first speech as NHS England CE

Publish Date/Time: 
04/01/2014 - 13:43

It’s good to be back - back in the NHS, and back here on Tyneside.

I know times are tough, and the Health Service is under pressure. But when people ask me why take on this new job? My answer is: Because I believe in the NHS, and I believe in its future. That it will be there when we need it, at the most profound moments in our lives. At the birth of our children. At the deaths of our loved ones. And at every stage in between – as we grapple with hope, fear, generosity, loneliness, compassion – all the most profound elements of the human spirit.

Editorial Monday 31 March 2014: Some thoughts for NHS England CE Simon Stevens

Publish Date/Time: 
03/31/2014 - 17:36

NHS England has been run by a former Communist, and from today it is run by a former Labour councillor. Perhaps in our children’s children’s time, NHS England will be run by a former Lib Dem?

Anyway, Simon Stevens is a great hire. He runs the risk of inflated expectations leading to disappointment when miracles do not immediately ensue, which is a nice problem to have.

Here, to speed Simon on his way, are a few observations about the job.

Editorial Friday 28 March 2014: A quick thought about Simon Stevens

Publish Date/Time: 
03/28/2014 - 20:15

Next week sees the arrival of Simon Stevens as NHS England's new chief executive.

HPI reisdent economics-and-everything guru Professor Alan Maynard has already offered Simon some advice, and very good it is too. I shall add to it on Monday, as doubtless shall the rest of the health policyverse.

But to truly re-enter the exciting online UK health policy debates, Simon needs a handle.

The Maynard Doctrine: Table manners at the healthcare feast - advice for Simon Stevens

Briefing from Professor Nala Dranyam, Kroy University, People’s Republic of Yorkshire to the incoming Chief Executive of the NHS, Simon Stevens


Dear Comrade Simon

Welcome to the increasingly parsimonious healthcare feast. Following four years of austerity during which the NHS “ring fenced” budget has been raided twice to fund social care (£1bn in 2011-12 and planned £3bn in 2015-16), NHS activity and adherence to performance targets has survived quite well.

The Maynard Doctrine: Health policy delusions, supply-induced demand and sanity deficits

Health economist Professor Alan Maynard outlines the sanity deficits and supply-induced demand risks in current policy trends

Current NHS policy is founded on delusions about how the NHS is organised and how it can be improved. Have decision-makers gone mad or are they suffering ‘innovation’ diarrhoea induced by panic over austerity and continuous faith-based policymaking?