OurNHS would like to say a warm welcome to the Centre for Health and the Public Interest, a new health think tank which launched last week. Committed to a democratic and accountable NHS, it will provide an invaluable base of policy expertise. Those involved include Colin Leys, co-author of The Plot Against the NHS, who recently wrote for us on personal care budgets and the role of nurses in the Mid-Staffs scandal; Marianne Fotaki, Sally Ruane, Keir Wright-Whyte, an advisory board including Alex Scott-Samuel and Jonathan Tomlinson, and a contributor network including Martin McKee, Danny Dorling, Ray Tallis and Mark Hellowell.
Resources for high level research and monitoring of the Coalition’s health market remain in short supply and CHPI is a very welcome addition to the current ecology of campaigning NHS sites, including KONP, the NHS Support Federation and their new site tracking privatisations, Socialist Health Association, False Economy, Social Investigations with Andrew Robertson and the excellent work done by 38 Degrees.
It’s a time for regrouping and refocusing. Section 75 has passed; Labour have shown once again that their opposition to a market based “NHS” remains stronger in rhetoric than it does in practice; the G8 looms, as do trade agreements both between the EU and US and also EU and Canada, and above all – the political cycle. The election is only two years away and the terrain is unstable and unpredictable.
Research expertise will be in high demand: is “choice” benefitting the public and, if so, at what cost? What is the price of administering this gigantic new market? Who will pick up the pieces when things go wrong? CHPI will hopefully provide some of the answers. You can see their website here, and follow them on Twitter here.