On Message: Health, social care and the NHS at tipping point

Hospitals have struggled to cope this winter and the Health Secretary has just added social care to his title. Our panel considers what are the implications of that announcement. Is it spin? or is the future of shape of NHS and social care under review?


2018 has brought with it the worst winter health crisis on record. It is also the year the NHS celebrates its 70th birthday. Against this backdrop of crisis, the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has decided to extend his remit to include social care.

Is he a glutton for punishment or visionary on a mission?

In this latest episode of MHP’s On Message podcast, host  Kate Pogson is joined by Sir Andrew Dilnot, Professor Paul Burstow, Emily Ashton and Pete Digger to discuss the opportunities and challenges Mr Hunt’s new role presents.

The panellists offer some suggestions on how communications can help navigate this difficult political terrain.

Despite having been widely expected to be moved in the recent Cabinet reshuffle, Jeremy Hunt remains at the helm in the revamped Department of Health and Social Care. As he nears the milestone of the longest serving Health Secretary, the panel considers what his legacy will be.

Soon to oversee the NHS’ 70th birthday and address the intractable issue of adult social care, the panel discusses how this might play out as the health system apparently approaches a tipping point.

Joining us to share their experience, insights and practical advice on how to navigate the all-important messaging around the health and social care shake-up are:


  • Professor Paul Burstow, Chair of the Social Care Institute of Excellence and former Minister of State for Care and Support. He is also an independent expert advisor to the Government on its forthcoming social care Green Paper
  • Sir Andrew Dilnot, Chair of the Commission on Funding of Care and Support, or the Dilnot Commission as it is better known, which was tasked by Government to review the social care system in 2010. Reporting in 2011, it recommended a more generous means-testing threshold and a cap on care costs that the Government is still to implement. Sir Andrew is a leading thinker in social care and was Chair of the UK Statistics Authority until 2017
  • Emily Ashton, Senior Political Correspondent at Buzzfeed, has over ten years’ experience reporting on the frontline of British politics. In recent months, she has kept a close eye as political parties grapple with the future of the health system

And Pete Digger, Managing Director in our Health team, an experienced Westminster hand and an expert in guiding clients through the parliamentary maze.


  • MHP’s Head of Health, Kate Pogson, has 15 years’ experience working in communications, specialising in making better sense of the world of health


On Message is produced by Rachel Ross and edited by Nick Carter of Mixsonix Audio Production.

If you have any thoughts or comments about this podcast do please get in touch via email: contact@mhpc.com