Health Policy Insight
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Editor's Blog

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Editor's blog update 3 July 2008: New feature on BMA-Government row

Publish Date/Time: 
07/03/2008 - 13:13

An update: this has gone on in features, but may as well go here too.

A gentlemen’s agreement, or a gentleman’s excuse-me?
Round 4,371 of the BMA-Government row over access to primary care. Seconds out.

Richard Vautrey, David Stout and Michael Dixon discuss what can be done to make progress between the Government and the BMA.

by Andy Cowper

Editor's blog 2 July 2008: New balls, please

Publish Date/Time: 
07/02/2008 - 17:33

Just a very quick one today, as there are more bits of Darzi to read, digest and pontificate about here later on - or more probably, tomorrow.

In this weekend's 'Colloquium', Tom Smith and I will be disagreeing about the Darzi review (see editor's blog yesterday for my take on the first document) - which should be fun. If you have any interjections, queries, thoughts or other stuff you'd like to contribute, please email them to by Saturday mid-morning. Oh, and do let us know whether you want to be anonymous or named.

Editor's blog 1 July 2008: 'High-quality care for all': thoughts on the Darzi review

Publish Date/Time: 
07/01/2008 - 15:00

Editor's blog: Reviewing the Darzi review

Andy Cowper, editor, Health Policy Insight

If you agree that clinical engagement is the main aspect needed to improve the NHS’s performance, then the launch of the Darzi review High-quality care for all ( might give you some hope.

Yet that hope is more about the document’s rhetoric and tone than about its content. Its hugely ambitious aim is to change culture, and to see the NHS being locally led.

Greatest hits

Editor's blog 27 June 2008: An NHS constitution in 60 words

Publish Date/Time: 
06/27/2008 - 17:18

Featuring contributions from John Appleby, Nick Bosanquet, Andy Cowper, Alan Maynard, Martin Rathfelder, Bob Sang, Michael Sobanja and Ruth Thorlby

Prior to the publication of the new constitution as part of the 60th anniversary celebrations for the NHS next week, we publish a range of people’s suggestions for how one might address the subject in 60 words. The original intention was to do something lighthearted – a point missed by one or two people we asked. Plenty of serious points nevertheless arose …

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