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Nudging, not judging - Health Policy Today, 24th July 2008

Publish Date/Time: 
07/24/2008 - 17:15

Tom Smith contrasts emerging approaches to tackling obesity in Japan and England.

Japan has just set a legal limit to the size of waists – and is enforcing it – while England, according to a speech from Alan Johnson to the Fabian Society tonight, will attempt to build a social ‘movement’ to combat the problem. Interestingly, both approaches seek to make obesity psychologically and socially undesirable.

Editor's Blog 22 July 2008: Traction and drag queens

Publish Date/Time: 
07/23/2008 - 21:14

A fairly cosmopolitan friend (Cambridge graduate, former actress, former restauranteur, farmer’s wife, PhD and theatre director) once revealed a surprisingly vehement prejudice. She told me “I hate drag queens, I find it completely insulting as a woman and I don’t see it as funny, flattering or insightful.”

Editor's blog update 21 July 08 - KPMG / Charles Clarke report reviewed

Publish Date/Time: 
07/21/2008 - 22:47

Ex-Minister Charles Clarke MP's execrable pamphlet for KPMG about health funding inspired me to write a review. Hope you enjoy it.

Alan Johnson webchat with Labour members- Health Policy Today, 21 July 2008:

Publish Date/Time: 
07/21/2008 - 22:00

It’s been a quiet few days for health policy, with the exception of the news that Imperial College plan to experiment with payment for performance, about which more tomorrow.

The main event of the morning was an online discussion between Alan Johnson, the Secretary of State for Health, and Labour members who logged on for a discussion. The questions set out some of the issues that Labour loyalists worry about in relation to health policy.

The Maynard Doctrine: the trouble with incentives

Alan Maynard is professor of health economics, University of York

Monday 21 July 2008

The trouble with incentives is that they work, but they may produce changes in behaviour that are at once welcome and perverse.

Take, for instance, the fines announced in December 2007 for NHS trusts that fail to hit their C.Difficile targets. These fines are potentially large, up to £3.5 million for unsuccessful trusts. Faced by such fines, managers are striving very hard to improve the performance of their hospitals - just as Ministers hoped they would.

Editor's blog 15 July 2008: Gerry Robinson - zombie for self-love

Publish Date/Time: 
07/15/2008 - 22:05

Policy zombies for (self-)love

The Canadian academic Robert Evans and colleagues described the existence of health policy zombies: ideas that, no matter how many times you shoot them down with evidence, get back up and keep coming at you.

‘Can Gerry Robinson Fix The NHS?’ was a 2006 BBC2 / Open University TV series, which explored whether the titular proposition was a feasible action plan.

A trial without evidence - Health Policy Today, 15th July 2008

Publish Date/Time: 
07/15/2008 - 17:30

Health Policy Insight associate editor Tom Smith on the debate of the day

At 9 am this morning, BBC Radio 4 hosted a programme on the cost of the NHS and the involvement of the private sector.

Editor's blog 14 July 2008: Bastille Day

Publish Date/Time: 
07/14/2008 - 17:54

In France, 14th July is Bastille Day - a national celebration of the eighteenth century regicide that set the country on the path to republics various.

It is easy - sometimes too easy - for journalists and commentators to get into 'off with his head' mode. We would sometimes do well to remember Robespierre's fate - his zeal scared his co-conspirators, and he ended up facing the guillotine engine.

It's worth trying to find the fine line that can separate ardour from zeal.

Health Policy Today, 13th July 2008 - Local authorities to hold PCTs to account

Publish Date/Time: 
07/13/2008 - 23:34

Health Policy Today, 13th July 2008 - Local authorities to hold PCTs to account: the implications of Hazel Blear’s new White Paper Communities in control: real people, real power

Last Wednesday, on the 9th of July – Hazel Blears published a White Paper Communities in control: real people, real power. It didn’t make huge headlines and a very important implication for health seems not to have been noticed.