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Editor's Blog

Editor's blog 19th January 2009: Unhappy about Blue Monday, and personal budgets deferred

Publish Date/Time: 
01/19/2009 - 18:04

I am officially not happy about Blue Monday.

Not the New Order song, which I like very much. No, the media bullshit Blue Monday.

According to BBC News in 2005, the most depressing day of the year is 24th January. They cited "Dr Cliff Arnalls" - but mis-spelled his surname, which is Arnall. A minor error - I'm a typo monarch myself.

Editor's blog 15th January 2009: Safer surgery straightforward

Publish Date/Time: 
01/15/2009 - 09:40

Not that I want to seem didactic or anything, but you need to go here - - and read it. You can get the checklist here -

Atul Gawande, author of the phenomenally good Better: a surgeon's notes on performance (, has been involved with this project.

Editor's blog 14th January 2009: Transform over content?

Publish Date/Time: 
01/14/2009 - 12:11

Good morning. You will probably already have seen the DH’s new Transforming community services: enabling new patterns of provision (, which emphasises “quality and enabling transformational change”.

Editor’s blog 13th January 2009: A right, righteous bollocking

Publish Date/Time: 
01/13/2009 - 16:14

Stop whatever you are doing now (yes, even reading something I write);
go here (;
and download the House of Commons Health Select Committee’s NHS Next Stage Review report.

It is one of the best reviews of policy since the Committee’s work on MTAS / MMC.

Editor's blog 12th January 2009: Thoroughly modernising Milly

Publish Date/Time: 
01/13/2009 - 00:18

First of all, a warm welcome back to Tom Smith. Health Policy Today is back for its 2009 run, and can be found here.

And moving swiftly on to the news of a surprising return to front-line policy for former Health Secretary Alan Milburn.

” Modern politics, it seems to me, should be a two-way process where there is more dialogue and less monologue.”
Alan Milburn MP, on

Guest blog 9th January 2009: Who is looking after the NHS brand?

Publish Date/Time: 
01/09/2009 - 18:20

It’s great that primary care trusts have been busy rebranding. My local PCT has now become NHS Suffolk, which is slightly more likely to mean something to people.

Let’s face it, the concept of a primary care trust didn’t. Few outside the NHS can explain the difference between primary and secondary care. If you don’t believe me, the next time you are on a bus or train, ask the person nearest you whether a brain surgeon works in primary or secondary care.

World-class commissioning, or emplying the bins?

Editor's blog 9th January 2009: The shock of the familiar, and a welcome guest

Publish Date/Time: 
01/09/2009 - 18:07

The policy points of the day are both sadly familiar ones. Firstly, the Conservatives have availed themselves of the open goal of mixed-sex wards (see

On mixed sex wards, BBC News report that the Tories' FOI requests found that of 132 responding hospitals, 15% still used at least one open-plan, mixed-sex ward, and others had curtains dividing the sexes (despite DH advice that solid full-height partitions should be used).

When we dead aWakefield (obscure Ibsen pun)

Editor's blog 8th January 2009: Answering the 2009 GP patient survey

Publish Date/Time: 
01/08/2009 - 11:34

On the day when it was revealed that BMA Chair of Council Dr Hamish Meldrum has got into media embarrassment over his practice's involvement in a polyclinic (see, I got a special-looking letter.

Awesome! I've been asked personally by Health Minister Ben Bradshaw to give my views on local NHS services. Me and a few others, probably. Let's take this together, dear readers.

Editor’s blog 7th January 2009: How many CSEs have you got?

Publish Date/Time: 
01/07/2009 - 21:10

As a pint-downing weathergirl and a Tory topless model prepare to fight it out for the voting sub-section (i.e. the really dim bit) of the TV viewing public’s attention in Celebrity Big Brother, the possibility of a public vote improving anything other than a TV company’s profitability may seem remote.

Yet an interesting piece on the BBC News politics section today looked afresh at the legacy of John Major's 'cones hotline' ( It is a longer legacy than you might imagine.

Editorial 6th January 2009: To err is human; to forgive, incarnadine

Publish Date/Time: 
01/06/2009 - 19:36

It’s a slow start to the year policy-wise, which made the Liberal Democrats’ FOI of the figures from the National Patient Safety Agency the major point worthy of comment of the day.

The first thing to say is that the increase over the previous two years’ figures is almost certainly correctly being ascribed to increased reporting of incidents.

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