1. The NHS and the General Election: a false sense of security?

    7 May 2015
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    Are we at risk of being lulled into a false sense of security with the NHS party pledges? Ruth Thorlby examines how the NHS has fared during the election campaign. 

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  2. Political cross-dressing and the NHS

    27 Apr 2015
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    Daniel Reynold's recaps the Health and Care Debate and presents his conclusions. 

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  3. The NHS bidding war

    21 Apr 2015
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    Last week, all the major parties in England laid out their bids to be trusted with the future of the NHS. The bids were partly denominated in hard cash as each pledged higher spending. But observers could be forgiven for still having quite a few questions.

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  4. Facts, figures and views on health and social care: A resource for reporters of the 2015 general election

    14 Apr 2015
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  5. Fact or Fiction? Reconfiguring hospital services will deliver significant savings

    25 Mar 2015
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    NHS hospitals are under mounting financial pressure. A common belief is that the reconfiguration of hospital services, primarily through rationalising services across sites and shifting services into the community will help resolve these pressures.

    But how realistic is this belief? What does the evidence tell us?

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  6. A starting gun or shot in the dark?

    (Guest blogger)
    19 Mar 2015
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    In a sequence of events, that could only be dreamt of (up) by election pundits, Simon Stevens announced the day before NHS Change day that his Vanguard programme will support “radical care redesign….for patients across England”. But did he really ‘fire the starting gun' or is this simply another shot in the dark?

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  7. The voluntary sector: ready, willing and able

    (Guest blogger)
    18 Mar 2015
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    People also often talk about services provided by the voluntary sector as a ‘nice-to-have’ but less important than the core business of the NHS, which is usually thought to involve hospitals and the GP surgery. This ignores the fact that the NHS is actually already wholly dependent on the support of the voluntary sector in many areas.

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  8. The way the NHS manages A&E problems is not fit for purpose

    6 Mar 2015
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    In researching the recent problems in accident and emergency performance, I was struck by the way the NHS is managing the situation: there appears to be a large amount of activity across the system – conference calls, emails, phones calls – to check progress and request detailed information. Is this adding value or causing problems? And why is this type of activity thought to be an important part of the response? 

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  9. Fact or fiction? Demand for GP appointments is driving the ‘crisis’ in general practice

    3 Mar 2015
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    Headlines and stories about the ‘crisis’ in general practice have become commonplace over the last year or so. A demoralised and squeezed workforce is struggling to meet the needs of increasing numbers of patients demanding immediate appointments. Or so the narrative goes.

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  10. Fact or Fiction? The NHS has too many managers

    19 Feb 2015
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    It’s election season, and NHS managers and 'bureaucracy' are once again in the firing line. The Coalition boast of putting “more money on to the front line and less into management”; Labour and its supportive press accuse them of the opposite. So who's right? 

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  11. MPs will always be part of the rationing equation

    (Guest blogger)
    18 Feb 2015
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    Most people can accept that, in any cash-limited system, there will be some things that cannot be funded. However, translating this relatively simple, if abstract, concept into a practical and defensible process is challenging.

    Rationing is probably not a very helpful term to describe the difficult decisions health services face about potentially denying people care that their doctors think they need. In the UK when we think of rationing we tend to think of the World Wars.

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  12. Rationing: An unhelpful term for the broader issue of prioritisation

    (Guest blogger)
    18 Feb 2015
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    Clinical commissioning places general practitioners at the heart of local health planning. As clinicians, we want to ensure that we provide every service our patients want, and that every health intervention comes with the necessary aftercare and support. There are, however, two important additional factors.

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  13. Fact or Fiction? Targets improve quality in the NHS

    13 Feb 2015
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    Views on targets are highly polarised, and recently there has been much anguish and headlines that the NHS is "dying" and "third world". But are targets good or bad for the NHS? Ian Blunt looks at the facts. 

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  14. Fact or Fiction? The Welsh NHS performs poorly compared to the English NHS

    5 Feb 2015
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    Claims about the Welsh NHS fly back and forth between politicians in Westminster and Cardiff Bay: Labour politicians can barely appear on national media without being questioned about their record running the NHS in Wales and Welsh NHS staff and patients find themselves at the centre of a fierce debate almost every week at Prime Minister’s Questions.

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  15. The health of our children, the health of the NHS

    30 Jan 2015
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    While there has been much focus on the challenges faced by the NHS of an ageing population, there has been less discussion at the other end of the spectrum. Children are the adults, and parents, of tomorrow – they represent the future. Their health in childhood is critical to their physical and mental wellbeing later in life. Protecting their health could translate into a healthier, sustainable NHS.

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  16. The challenge of change in the NHS in Wales

    30 Jan 2015
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    It can’t have escaped many people’s notice that English politicians continue to throw a spotlight on the performance of the Welsh NHS. With Wales the only UK administration controlled by Labour, the Conservative party has consistently sought to highlight the state of the Welsh NHS, perhaps in response to Labour’s comparative political advantage on the NHS in the forthcoming UK election.

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  17. Fact or Fiction? Social care cuts are to blame for the 'crisis' in hospital emergency departments

    29 Jan 2015
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    Rising demand for urgent and emergency care is not a new challenge. But in recent months, there’s been a scramble to find explanations for the overheating hospital sector. Nigel Edwards examines what we do know. 

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  18. The Cancer Drugs Fund: An important stopgap

    (Guest blogger)
    14 Jan 2015
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     At a time when the CDF is under the public spotlight, it’s useful to remind ourselves about the problems that the Fund was set up to address, and recognise that while it is by no means the finished article, it has gone some way to plugging a gap. 

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  19. We are in a hole with the Cancer Drugs Fund – why do we keep on digging?

    (Guest blogger)
    14 Jan 2015
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    The news that the Fund was to be extended into 2016 brought equal amounts of delight and concern. The proponents of the Fund, who had hailed its introduction, were delighted, however, it raised huge concerns for those that could see its obvious flaws.

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  20. The Cancer Drugs Fund: a question of value(s)

    13 Jan 2015
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    NHS England’s announcement yesterday on the future of the Cancer Drugs Fund has reignited an important debate about how to understand ‘value’ in relation to NHS services. This blog provides an overview of the issues, and suggests what we at the Nuffield Trust think is a good way forward.

     

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