Author Archives: John Lister

John Lister

About John Lister

John Lister, European web coordinator for AHCJ, has been a journalist for 35 years, specializing in reporting health policy in England. He is the author of "Health Policy Reform: Driving the Wrong Way?," a critique of market-style reforms, and "The NHS After 60: for Patients or Profits?," a critical history of the British National Health Service.

How Britain’s new health law got through Parliament

Most health care professionals vociferously opposed Britain’s new Health and Social Care Act in the final few months as the House of Lords debated its fate.

Opposition was especially strong from family doctors (GPs), who, on the face of it, should have seen themselves as beneficiaries of new powers and control, but most of whom have seen the proposals as a threat to them and to the National Health Service. Continue reading

Britain passes NHS reforms amid controversy

The British government’s highly controversial “Health and Social Care Act” finally completed its bruising 15-month journey through the Houses of Parliament in March, in the teeth of opposition from doctorsnursing unionspublic health professionals, and mounting public concern. The debate on the merits and implications of the proposals is far from over. Continue reading

Controversy over breast implants spreads across Europe

British clinics delivering cosmetic surgery were thrown into crisis by the decision last month of the French government to fund the removal of thousands of breast implants manufactured by the now-closed French company Poly Implant Prostheses (PIP). The implants were found to have used industrial grade silicone made for use in mattresses. Continue reading

Brief ‘pause’ in British government plans for National Health Service

The British Conservative-led coalition government is currently in the midst of a brief “pause” in its efforts to push through their sweeping restructuring of England’s National Health Service. Health Secretary Andrew Lansley’s Health and Social Care Bill (see summary) is based, with minimal changes, on last July’s White Paper “Liberating the NHS.” The bill was published as legislation in mid-January, and whizzed through the first stages of parliamentary procedures with little evidence that any MPs (or journalists) had read or understood it. For example, BBC summaries have for the most part ignored the bulk of the Bill’s content to describe it as “plans to hand greater powers to GPs.” Continue reading

NICE official: Rumours of demise greatly exaggerated

The new government in Britain has targeted the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence for change. John Lister interviewed Kalipso Chalkidou, International Director of NICE, at her London office on Dec. 16, 2010, about the coming changes.

Many AHCJ members at the 2009 conference in Seattle saw your presentation on NICE. Can you give us an update on changes started by the new government?
The new government has significant plans to reorganize the National Health Service (NHS) The plans affect NICE. I personally think that’s a good thing. NICE has always had to change as a prerequisite for success in its work. Continue reading

NICE loses power to control availability of drugs

Health Secretary Andrew Lansley has announced plans to strip the key powers from The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence or NICE.

The institute was set up under Tony Blair’s government to vet the cost-effectiveness of new drugs and treatments, and give national guidance on whether they should be prescribed by doctors within Britain’s National Health Service. Continue reading