Coronavirus: NHS staff are let down by bureaucracy

The praise for health workers dealing with Covid-19 is universal. From cleaners and porters to the most distinguished consultant, all have played their part. But they are working in an administrative system almost Kafka-esque in its lunacy. An early example was when NHS workers turned up to be tested at the huge PHE complex at […]

From A&E waiting times to the Windrush scandal, beware bureaucratic targets

Last week, health secretary Matt Hancock signalled an important change of strategy. Accident and Emergency Departments have a target that 95 per cent of patients should be admitted, transferred or discharged within four hours. Hancock suggested that the target will be scrapped. Instead, wait times will be determined by clinical need. Cue predictable hyperbolic outrage. […]

The NHS will never have enough cash: the English religion needs reformation

We British like traditions. A well-established one which comes round every year is the “winter crisis” in the NHS. Health provision is a political hot potato not just for this government, or indeed for any particular UK government, but for governments across the developed world. One of the key assumptions made by economists about human […]

From the NHS to Brexit, give people a choice and they’ll make a good one

A current headache for the government is the performance of the NHS, and whether it is running out of money. This was making the front pages until the judges’ decision on Brexit pushed it off. Successive governments have discovered that the finances of the health service are a potentially bottomless pit. A key policy issue […]

If it costs nothing, is it worth anything?

Most of us don’t love our banks. We have all experienced the unanswered letter, the seemingly interminable waits on hold before being put through to someone who gives the impression of auditioning for the infamous “computer says no” television sketch. Yet we are surprisingly loyal to our current accounts. Figures from Bacs suggest that around […]

Do short-term governments affect the UK’s productivity?

Since the economic crisis labour productivity growth in the UK has been very poor. The Bank of England estimate that output per hour (productivity) is 16% lower than it should be given pre recession trends. With output recovering and high levels of employment, many argue that the so-called ‘productivity puzzle’ is the reason behind lagging […]

Birthday parties and the NHS: We Need More Markets

Many outrageous things happened around the world during the course of last week. But, judging by both the level of popular interest in the story and reaction to it, the most heinous was the decision of a mother to send an invoice to the parents of a boy who did not turn up to her […]

Can Nanny make you stop drinking?

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has been the butt of much ridicule over the past week.  A pill designed to reduce alcohol consumption among problem drinkers will be made available across the NHS.  But the concept of problem drinkers is so wide that it embraces people who enjoy a couple of […]

Nick Bosanquet in the Financial Times: projections for 2014

Each New Year the Financial Times surveys a select group of policymakers, academics and commentators to gauge views on some important questions for the economy for the coming year. Volterra associate Nick Bosanquet took part in the survey again in 2014. Take a look at Nick’s responses below: 1. Economy: To what extent will the […]