The Election has been won – what now for the NHS?

By Hugo Greenhalgh on May 8, 2015 | Category: Blog | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments

With talk of a hung parliament or Labour/SNP coalition already today’s chip paper, the reality of a Conservative majority is just beginning to set in. Labour’s anticipated gains did not come through, while high-profile figures were ousted. And would the last MP left in the Lib Dems please switch off the lights?

For the healthcare community, attention will quickly turn to what the new government will mean for the sector. This was supposed to be the election of the NHS, with the final IPSOS MORI poll ranking the health service as the main concern among potential voters. It was a stark contrast from 2010 in which the economy was the clear priority.

Yet it was the Labour Party who ran with the NHS as one of their main manifesto themes but ultimately came a cropper. In their own words, the NHS was “one of Labour’s proudest achievements” and the Party rhetoric put itself forward as the only capable of “rescuing” it. Read more …

The power of celebrity endorsements

By Carl Packman on May 6, 2015 | Category: Blog | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments

Celebrity endorsements are the talk of the election. Forget normal people for a second, what gives political parties real colour and the ability to reach wider channels are the famous guys.

But do they work? In 1996, Mark N. Hertzendorf put celebrity endorsements to the test using ‘Game Theory’, in a paper written for the Federal Trade Commission (!), and what he found was rather interesting.

It had previously been the view that the most sensible way of spending money on advertising was by getting lots and lots of adverts out in public to ensure that it would be seen by the greatest number of people. But according to Hertzendorf this isn’t so sensible after all. Read more …

Conservatives’ small businesses letter is another example of bad political PR

By Hugo Greenhalgh on April 28, 2015 | Category: Blog | Tags: , , , , , , , | No Comments

With Shadow Business Secretary Chuka Umunna showing support for the nation’s small businesses last week, it was over to the Conservatives to respond. This came in the form of a 5,000-signature strong letter of endorsement from a wide range of the UK’s small businesses and was published as an exclusive  in The Daily Telegraph.

However, while this could have been a real statement of backing for the Tories it has already turned into a PR nightmare. The observant quickly noticed that if you downloaded the letter as a PDF from the Telegraph website, the file’s author was “CCHQ-Admin” – Conservative Campaign Headquarters. So rather than a product of the small business’ initiative, the letter was actually a creation of the Conservative electioneering machine.

Furthermore, the Tories had in fact been collecting small business signatures for the past couple of weeks based on a petition that Baroness Karren Brady – a Conservative life peer – had helped to publicize. Overnight it had become clear that this was anything but an independent document and very much a piece of Party spin. Read more …

How are political parties promising to take healthcare into the 21st century?

By Carl Packman on April 23, 2015 | Category: Blog | Tags: , , , , , , , | No Comments

Sometimes what isn’t said is as important as what is. Many of us political geeks have had time to absorb the messages contained in the party manifestos and we know that in order to really get an idea of what’s being said, we must do more than just read between the lines.

Back in 2002 the NHS was gifted the National Programme for IT, launched and deployed in order to revolutionise the way in which the health system used information technology. The ambition for it was impressive – with costs to match.

According to the National Audit Office the estimated total cost of the NPfIT has changed since a 2011 report from £11.4bn to £9.8bn which took into account the number of system implementations. Some have called it a vanity project; what has resulted is big IT projects are a political no-go area, but haven’t necessarily resulted in a start-up revolution in digital contracts within the NHS. Read more …

The language of the manifesto is key to political PR

By Hugo Greenhalgh on April 16, 2015 | Category: Blog | Tags: , , , , , , , | No Comments

With three weeks to go till the 2015 General Election, the launch of manifestos allows for some reflection on how far the parties will prioritise the NHS.

It has been portrayed as one of the major issues in this election for some time now, with the key players keen to stress their commitment to the NHS and present themselves as the most capable of handling the UK’s healthcare system.

The Labour Party gave their health manifesto a special launch on Saturday, a clear statement of how highly it ranks in Labour’s priorities and an opportunity to air some of their flagship health policies. Read more …

Do philanthropists need to improve their PR?

By Hugo Greenhalgh on April 2, 2015 | Category: Blog | Tags: , , , , , , , , | No Comments

Should philanthropists be allowed to support development however they see fit, or should their altruism be under greater scrutiny?

That was the central theme of a panel discussion at UCL on Monday evening.

The event focused on the ethics of global philanthropy and saw Clare Matterson, Director of Strategy at the Wellcome Trust and Andre Heller Perache of Medicins sans Frontiers (MSF) engage in a lively debate with Professor Rob Reich, Associate Professor of Political Science at Stanford University and a leading authority in the field. Read more …

Jeremy Hunt needs a lesson in PR

By Carl Packman on April 1, 2015 | Category: Blog | Tags: , , , , | No Comments

Yesterday the Health Service Journal exclusively “revealed” that a leading report has called for NHS board members to be paid up £1m in bonuses. Anyone quicker than me at spotting anagrams will guess the nature of the article on April 1st by the new author Alf Poorli.

I hold my hands up. It fooled me (I had to re-edit this part for a start). But the best April Fools’ are the most believable.

What the HSJ has done very cleverly, though, is produce a joke that seems almost believable in a world where nothing is shocking anymore. It’s also very clever because of the controversy of the report it quotes from. As many will know, there have been a lot of guessing games about what will feature in the Lord Rose report on NHS management, and lots of questions asking why the Department of Health has yet to publish it. Read more …

Positive PR for whistleblowers can help solve NHS recruitment woes

By Rob Preston on March 12, 2015 | Category: Blog | Tags: , , , , , , | No Comments

Chair of the Health Select Committee, Dr Sarah Wollaston MP spoke passionately about the importance of empowering professionals with the ability to share their opinions during last night’s Health Chat with Roy Lilley at the King’s Fund.

Read more …

Is social media the answer to integrated care?

By Rob Preston on March 2, 2015 | Category: Blog | No Comments

NHS professionals’ twitter capabilities were given a boost last week at the ‘Developing your skills in Social Media’ interactive event and its concurrent #TwitterNHS live discussion.

Read more …

Other major cities will soon be demanding their own health devolution plan

By James Tout on February 26, 2015 | Category: Blog | No Comments

First published in Health Service Journal on 26 February 2015.

Greater Manchester’s town hall politicians were doubtless popping the champagne corks to news that they are to be handed the entire NHS budget for the region.

Read more …