The Week, 12 August 2016

12 August 2016

Rumours that the Prime Minister intends to lift the existing ban on the expansion of grammar schools intensified this week. While the intention may be to improve social mobility, the evidence suggests grammar schools do more to hinder opportunities for disadvantaged children.

The NHS in St Helens has suggested that it should delay non-urgent hospital operations in order to minimise its costs this year. This is further evidence that NHS bodies are reacting to financial pressure in exactly the wrong way. Most organisations see a lack of money as a reason to change and improve. As in St Helens, the NHS has lost sight of the need for change and become obsessed with achieving short-term financial balance, even if that makes things harder next year and even if patients suffer.


Ben Dobson, Researcher, Reform

Reformer of the week
Neil Carmichael MP, Chair of the Education Select Committee, who this week argued against the proposal to reintroduce grammar schools.

Reactionary of the week

The NHS in St Helens, Merseyside, as above.

Good week for

Industrial output

UK industrial output grew at the fastest rate for 17 years in the quarter April to June, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics published on Tuesday.

The case for NHS reform

Figures published on Friday indicate that a ‘bed-blocking’ crisis – where patients who are well are kept in hospital because of care shortages elsewhere – is costing the NHS almost £6 billion per year.

Bad week for

Workplace harrassment

A survey published on Wednesday found that two in three young women report having experienced sexual harassment at work.

Economic growth

A poll of economists published on Friday revealed that the majority believe the UK economy will contract in the third and fourth quarters of this year.

Quotes of the week

“The solution has to lie in schools, universities, hospitals, GPs’ surgeries and the like using new methods to boost productivity. They must try harder to adopt innovative ways to streamline their operations. Just as businesses have reinvented the way in which factories, warehouses, offices and shops function, so must our public services reform.”

Luke Johnson, writing in The Sunday Times.

“A good hospital is a great boon to patient care, but the hospital itself is ultimately a tool – to be sure, a large, complex, expensive tool – without which patients can still be given care.”

The New England Journal of Medicine, published on Wednesday.

“Regardless of Mrs May’s fine intentions, reintroducing selection would do little to improve the diversity of future cabinets.”

The Economist, published on Friday.

Reform’s week

On Monday, William Mosseri-Marlio, Senior Researcher at Reform, wrote an article for The Yorkshire Post setting out the opportunity to improve jobcentre productivity through the better use of data.

On Wednesday, Andrew Haldenby wrote an op-ed for The Telegraph arguing for the need to accelerate the pace of NHS reform.

The Reformer blog

On Wednesday, Kate Laycock, Researcher at Reform, wrote a blog in which she put forward the case that current performance measurements in the NHS are outdated and do not inform the public.



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