‘Mad Men’ and how to change the conversation

By Carl Packman on May 26, 2015 | Category: Blog | No Comments
‘Mad Men’ and how to change the conversation

I make no apologies for wanting to write about Mad Men now that it is finished on Sky Atlantic. While I must admit I dipped in and out of the programme, filling in the gaps through many conversations with friends and the odd long form article on the programme, I recognised straight away what a formidable show it was and how good it was at raising questions that we ourselves should be asking today.

Questions such as: what is the point of advertising?

The programme only actually raised this question quite rarely. The main focus was on nostalgia for the 50s, 60s and 70s in the US, plus references to defining political events such as Vietnam and the murder of JFK, not to mention the topsy-turvy world of workplace power struggles, identity crisis, and household morals. But when the question did come up, especially from the central character Don Draper, it couldn’t have been clearer:

“Advertising is based on one thing, and you know what that one thing is? Happiness. Happiness is the smell of a new car. It’s freedom from fear. It’s a billboard on the side of the road that screams with reassurance that whatever you’re doing is OK.” Read more …

Can the NHS learn the lessons from Sir Robert Francis’ inquiries?

By Hugo Greenhalgh on May 19, 2015 | Category: Blog | No Comments
Can the NHS learn the lessons from Sir Robert Francis’ inquiries?

The latest HealthChat event welcomed Sir Robert Francis QC, a name which has “redefined the future of healthcare”, as host Roy Lilley eulogised. Throughout his career, Sir Robert has dealt with cases of mismanagement in healthcare and striven for further review and reform.

In a packed King’s Fund lecture room, Sir Robert reflected on his early career and the significance of cases such as that of gynaecologist Richard Neale, the Alder Hey organ scandal and the Bristol heart surgery inquiry. These cases gave Sir Robert his first major insights into the NHS but he also noted the difficulties he experienced in finding doctors to come forward as expert witnesses, for fear of being ostracised from the health profession.

Lilley then guided the discussion onto Sir Robert’s most famous work, his inquiry into the shocking mistreatment of patients – which led to hundreds of unnecessary deaths – at Stafford Hospital, better known by the now infamous shorthand of ‘Mid Staffs’, after the trust which governed the hospital at the time. Read more …

Appointment of new Sports Minister marks refreshing change

By Hugo Greenhalgh on May 13, 2015 | Category: Blog | No Comments
Appointment of new Sports Minister marks refreshing change

There were some wry smiles around Westminster this week as Tracey Crouch was announced as the new Sports Minister. For once, here was a Sports Minister who actually likes sport.

Crouch is an FA-qualified coach and a self-confessed football lover. She has coached the same Under-10s girls’ team in Kent for nearly a decade and has experience sitting on the Culture, Media and Sport select committee.

Elected as an MP in 2010, her record in Parliament has been seen as rebellious, choosing to vote on her principles rather than toeing the party line. Therefore, her ministerial appointment represents both an olive branch from David Cameron and an affirmation of her capability for the role. Read more …

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