Public Services and the Welfare State

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    What should be in the election manifestos on health and social care?

What should be in the election manifestos on health and social care?

The 2019 election will be held at a time when the NHS and social care are typically under strain. David Rowland outlines a number of key policies that the manifestos should include if the various crises in the sector are to be addressed by the next government.

Unless the UK dodges the virulent strain of flu which hit Australia earlier […]

Do left-wing governments increase public employment levels?

Hiring more public sector employees is often part of left-wing parties’ electoral pledges, but do they fulfil it? Based on data from 22 OECD countries, Lasse Aaskoven finds that they generally do not, with some exceptions.

The promise to hire more public sector employees often features prominently in left-wing parties’ electoral campaigns. The UK Labour Party has repeatedly called for […]

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    The Bedroom Tax in Northern Ireland: playing a dangerous game with peace?

The Bedroom Tax in Northern Ireland: playing a dangerous game with peace?

Northern Ireland is about to experience many of the austerity policies that have been rolled out in England, including the Bedroom Tax. Although this had been implemented in 2017, a ‘mitigation package’ ensured households were protected from it until 2020. With that deadline now nearing, and with no government in place, the policy is set to have many negative […]

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    Flawed data? Why NHS spending on the independent sector may actually be much more than 7%

Flawed data? Why NHS spending on the independent sector may actually be much more than 7%

The presentation of data on NHS expenditure is flawed, writes David Rowland, which prevents policymakers from having a clear understanding of where money within the system is going. He estimates that in 2018/19, the amount spent by NHS England on the independent sector was around 26% of total expenditure, not 7% as widely reported. 

Claims regarding the extent of NHS […]

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    Parents, poverty and the state: reducing pressures on parents and increasing their capabilities

Parents, poverty and the state: reducing pressures on parents and increasing their capabilities

Naomi Eisenstadt and Carey Oppenheim argue that a more joined-up approach is needed to improve outcomes for children: both reducing child poverty and improving parental capacity by providing better support systems.

In the last two decades, political parties have lost their earlier resistance to preaching about family life. For most of the twentieth century, fears of the nanny state and […]

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    Why social science can help us to better understand organisational change in healthcare

Why social science can help us to better understand organisational change in healthcare

Lorelei Jones, Alec Fraser, and Ellen Stewart write that while the literature of large‐scale healthcare reform is dominated by competing forms of knowledge, social science in particular can offer new insights.

Major changes to the way clinical services are organised keep happening, despite a lack of evidence that it improves anything. Health services research often excludes important dimensions, such as politics […]

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    Pounds for Patients? The weak regulatory approach to financial incentives in UK healthcare

Pounds for Patients? The weak regulatory approach to financial incentives in UK healthcare

David Rowland writes that, although financial incentives have the potential to result in overtreatment and unnecessary interventions, the UK rules governing them are weak. He illustrates this point by comparing the regulatory approaches of the UK and the US.

The US healthcare system is plagued with fraud, with an estimated $272 billion lost to fraudulent practices each year. Much of […]

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    Corporate care home collapse and ‘light touch’ regulation: a repeating cycle of failure

Corporate care home collapse and ‘light touch’ regulation: a repeating cycle of failure

In light of the care home chain Four Seasons going into administration David Rowland looks at the failure of the regime designed to prevent such situations, as well as the cause of the collapse. He concludes that the rights of hedge funds and private equity investors to extract profit from the care home sector are given priority than the […]