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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.

Colloquia: markets and choice in healthcare

Publish Date/Time: 
07/13/2008 - 23:18

AC: This week, I thought we could discuss markets and market mechanisms in healthcare. Richard Smith has written a good blog for Guardian Online (, which gives a pro-market perspective. That isn't surprising, given his work with UnitedHealth Europe.

TS: Sure, but he works for UnitedHealth because he has that perspective, not the other way around.

Editor's blog 9 July 2008: The human face of the co-payments policy debate

Publish Date/Time: 
07/09/2008 - 09:30

You may already have seen the moving story of NHS surgeon Gordon Matthews and his wife Sue on the BBC News website. The right to top up treatment is a genuinely hard subject, even before you start giving it a human face. When policy meets reality and personalities, the clash can be deafening.

When you know you are facing death, the feeling must be desperate.

Storms gather in Edinburgh - Health Policy Today 7th July 2008

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

7 July 2008 - Tom Smith on today’s health policy debate.

It's that time of year when the BMA’s representatives come together for their annual conference. In his first speech as chairman, Dr Hamish Meldrum was keen to show the delegates where he stood in relation to the private sector and market forces in healthcare.

Colloquia: ministering to clinical priorities, or political ones?

The really new thing about the Darzi report was that it actually succeeds in laying out a non-political reform agenda in which clinicians are cast as agents of change
Publish Date/Time: 
07/07/2008 - 12:42

Colloquia: ministering to clinical priorities or political ones?

In this week’s Colloquia, Health Policy Insight editor Andy Cowper and associate director Tom Smith discuss how and whether reform is being helped or hindered by the Darzi Review and ongoing BMA-Government rows.

Editor's blog 7 July 2008 - New 'Maynard Doctrine'

Publish Date/Time: 
07/07/2008 - 09:26

Good morning. Hope you've had a good weekend.

The latest instalment of 'The Maynard Doctrine' is just published, and deserves your attention.

Later today we hope to have the next in our weekly 'Colloquia', which will still be centring on the Darzi review.