Some old health stuff


In which all is not well

Two years at GP allowed me to become one of Britain’s foremost experts on the 2004 New General Medical Services Contract. (I have yet to find a use for this.) Since leaving, I’ve been, among other things, a contributing editor at HealthInvestor.

So, some harrumphing about health policy:

  • Why a decade of record NHS funding had left the medical profession more hacked off than ever (New Statesman, July 2008)
  • In 2008, young GPs were threatening to leave the NHS in droves – largely, because no one would hire them (New Statesman, November 2008)
  • Once upon a time, you could trust your doctor with your secrets as well as your life. And then the medical research industry got involved (The First Post, June 2009)
  • The NHS database might or might not breach your human rights (The First Post, August 2008). That was just one of the reasons the Tories decided to scrap it (The First Post, August 2009)
  • In autumn 2009 I did the round of party conferences for GP and blogged frantically, about topics including: the then-imminent NHS financial crisis; whether there was enough substance to Tory health plans; and whether they meant what they said.
  • One of the stories I picked up at the Conservative conference was that they were planning to take NHS funding from the poor to give it to the rich (New Statesman, December 2009). Someone in Central Office eventually noticed this might be A Bad Thing, because a few weeks later they spiked the idea (Liberal Conspiracy, January 2010). I like to pretend it was my doing.
  • So, NHS waiting time targets. Did they actually increase waiting times? (New Statesman, November 2011)

Feeling Wonky


A couple of bits of policy wonkery from recent months:

  • Once every few months, a report comes along explaining why the private finance initiative represents a sort of embarrassing skidmark on the national accounts, and suggests we’d better scrap it, pronto. Here’s me at Liberal Conspiracy explaining why that’s never gonna happen. (Liberal Conspiracy, August 22nd)
  • Health secretary Andrew Lansley recently promised to ban minimum waiting times in the NHS. It probably won’t make any difference (New Statesman, 15 November)

October to February, much condensed


I’ve been variously

  1. getting engaged
  2. buying a flat
  3. doing up the flat
  4. weeping in a puddle of sewage inside my flat, five minutes after the completion of stage (3)
  5. editing a magazine, which turns out to be more exhausting and time-consuming than I was expecting, and which gave me the urge to apologise to every editor I’d ever had for my generally un-cooperate attitudes to life.

All of this has left my comparatively little time for writing things that aren’t hidden behind a nifty subscription barrier. Nonetheless, here are those things:

  • In December the New Statesman Online ran a piece I’d been working on for weeks, about a lunatic Tory plan to take NHS money from the poor and give to the rich (December 18th). Less than a fortnight later the party magically came up with a plan to take NHS money from the rich and give to the poor. I commented on this reversal, and my own lack of influence upon it, over at Liberal Conspiracy (January 18th)
  • Also @libcon – A Modest Proposal for Financial Regulation – more fun than it sounds, honest (December 13th); and, out on a limb somewhat, Why President Blair Is A Good Idea (November 6th)
  • A review of Russell T Davies’ masterwork The Writer’s Tale (Shinyshelf, January 14th)
  • Over at Londonist, Ken Livingstone might be Mayor of London (January 19th), Nick Griffin won’t be MP for Barking, probably (November 26th), and We Have Always Been At War With Eurasia (November 19th)
  • And finally, fear and loathing in Islington South, as the LibDem campaign turns to dirty tricks (Londonist, February 23rd)

Current affairs


I’ve been terribly busy of late (except when I was terribly un-busy, on a beach somewhere, of course; but we won’t talk about that). I have thus failed miserably to update this thing.

Belatedly, though, here are some of my more recent scribblings:

  • On the immaturity of Tory libertarianism (Liberal Conspiracy, October 10th)
  • Londonist gets nicked – How I met the Met in Ladbroke Grove (Londonist, October 2nd)
  • An interview with Dr Sarah Wollaston, the woman likely to be elected Tory MP for Totnes some time next year (GP, September 11th)
  • Opinionist: London pride – On the relationship between the City and the city (Londonist, September 9th)
  • Would the left benefit from a Tory landslide? (Liberal Conspiracy, September 8th)

I also spent the party conference season blogging extensively on the various health policies on offer in Westminster right now for GP (this was nearly as much fun as it sounds). The coverage included this piece on the refusal to face financial realities.