2011 saw Andrew Lansley press on with the most radical reforms to the NHS in its 63 year history, only to find his plans grind to a temporary halt and a noisy pause, initiated by his own Prime Minister. Amidst the noise of the reforms, it is important to note what has gone right. Over 7,000 cancer patients have got access to drugs as a result of the Cancer Drugs Fund – a policy we in MHP were proud to play a part in creating. We found ourselves at the heart of many of the biggest debates in health and were proud to be recognised by our peers, winning nine awards, including Communiqué Consultancy of the Year.
The NHS reforms have survived more or less intact and change on the ground has continue apace throughout 2011. 2012 will be the year when much of the policy theory gets turned into practice. It will also be the year when the slowdown in NHS spending really starts to bite.
In this environment, organisations wishing to influence the health agenda will need to be smarter than ever, more persuasive and more compelling. New commissioning groups and local health and wellbeing boards are already leaving their mark. Anyone who is serious about influencing the health agenda will need to engage and convince them, as much as they do national policymakers, in the coming year. If they are serious about shaping the new world, we’ll be here to help them.
For more about the politics and policy of health this year read 2011 in blogs.