AT A GLANCE: NHS under fire from Reform think-tank

Is this the report on the NHS's future?

Yes, the Reform think-tank this week put out a report on the state of the health service, called NHS reform: national mantra, not local reality. It was written by Nick Bosanquet, professor of health policy at Imperial College London, along with Reform staffers, and says that the creation of primary care trusts and patient choice have failed to drive significant change in the interests of patients on the ground.

WHERE DOES REFORM SIT IN THE POLITICAL SPECTRUM?

Well, it bills itself as an 'independent, non-party' think-tank tackling issues of economics and public services but it is not exactly seen as non-partisan. It has argued before for a smaller, higher quality NHS workforce and is broadly right-of-centre, in favour of market-led reform. The approving quotes that pepper its website tend to come from publications such as The Daily Telegraph, The Sun and The Spectator.

HOW DID THE PR OPERATION FOR THE REPORT WORK?

Reform comms manager Anna Calvert oversaw a press statement, embargoed until Monday this week, which was sent out last week to regional, national and trade media. Bosanquet was offered as a spokesperson, while senior researcher Helen Rainbow, who also co-wrote the report, was another contact for journalists.

WHAT WERE THE MAIN PARTS OF THE REPORT?

In essence it outlined two scenarios for the NHS in the future, one negative and one positive. In the first, the decline of the NHS is simply managed - which the report says would actually be more expensive than the second, which sees a change to its 'economic constitution'. Reform wants the NHS to define duties to create value at all levels, a move that it says would deliver significant improvement within 18 months.

BOLD STUFF. DID COVERAGE MEASURE UP?

A fair spread of outlets carried stories on the report's findings. The Sun, the Daily Mirror, the London freesheet Metro, Yorkshire Post and The Telegraph were among the papers that went with the story (The Telegraph's headline: 'NHS faces spiral of decline, says think-tank'). There were also pieces on Sky News and BBC Radio 4's Today Programme, which included an interview with Bosanquet. More coverage was also expected in medical journals later this week.

Further information www.reform.co.uk.

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