Andy Cowper

Andy Cowper is the editor of Health Policy Insight, and a columnist for the British Medical Journal and Health Service Journal

What Amanda Pritchard’s appointment means for the NHS

‘Deputy succeeds boss’ might not normally feel like a ‘hold the front page’ type headline. But the announcement that Amanda Pritchard is the new head of NHS England – replacing Simon Stevens – reveals a lot about the state of the NHS and the future direction of the health service. Firstly, the process. Despite concerns that

Should Dido Harding really run NHS England?

Dido Harding’s campaign to become the next boss of the NHS in England took a high-profile turn this weekend. ‘Sources close to Dido Harding’ (perhaps ones occupying the same pair of shoes) briefed the Sunday Times about the Conservative peer and ex-boss of the £37 billion Test and Trace scheme pitch as a candidate. (If appointed, the

No, Mr Hancock, Covid didn’t cause the NHS backlog

You might think that a cabinet minister and privy councillor whose reputation for truthfulness had been brought into (very public) question would be inclined to keep their public utterances strictly on the straight and narrow. You’d be failing to allow for the enthusiastic approach of the Health Secretary. Matt Hancock used his presentation to today’s

Dominic Cummings still needs to back up his allegations

When Dominic Cummings, the Prime Minister’s former chief advisor, gave evidence to the Covid-19 ‘lessons learned’ joint select committee last month (over the course of seven hours) his revelations seemed explosive. Specifically, Cummings alleged that the health secretary Matt Hancock was guilty of incompetence, interference and repeated lying. He told the committee: ‘The Secretary of

How NHS boss Simon Stevens could soon cause trouble for Boris

NHS England boss Sir Simon Stevens’s final speech today was watched online by hundreds of health service bigwigs. But its main audience was much smaller. It was aimed squarely at just two people: Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak. Stevens’s main message was about funding. The government, and, in particular, the Treasury, may not be thrilled once they

Should Dido Harding end up running the NHS?

In England, the NHS is run by an organisation with an identity crisis. It calls itself NHS England, but that’s just self-promotional branding. In law, it is the NHS Commissioning Board, created by Andrew Lansley’s controversial 2012 reforms which gave the NHS a high level of autonomy from direct government control. The NHS Commissioning Board

Questions about Matt Hancock’s credibility aren’t going away

It was always likely that the evidence given by Dominic Cummings to the health and science joint select committee inquiry yesterday would have quite an impact. Cummings certainly has a flair for communication and a revolutionary zeal. On top of that, he has scores to settle when it comes to the Prime Minister’s conduct and

Boris faces a painful choice over social care

If social care reform were any deeper in the long grass of political priorities, it’d probably get mistaken for a hedgerow. It got a one-line reference in the Queen’s Speech this week, which does not even guarantee that the ‘clear plan’ promised by the PM in his first speech in the job will be published