Second anniversary of the NHS White Paper – new analysis tells the story of how and why the controversial reforms became law

In the week that marks the second anniversary of the coalition government’s NHS White Paper, the Institute for Government and The King’s Fund are publishing the story of how this most controversial piece of public sector reform became law.

Nicholas Timmins is the author of Never Again? The story of the Health and Social Care Act 2012. Nick is the former public policy editor of the Financial Times and now a Senior Fellow of the Institute for Government and The King’s Fund – he tells the story through the points of views and experiences of some of those most closely involved with the plan for the NHS.

Never Again?’ also seeks to draw some early lessons from what is widely regarded as a ’car crash’ of both politics and policy-making. But at the same time he explains why the Health Secretary believes that never again – or at least for the foreseeable future – will the NHS need to undergo another big structural change. He also raises the possibility that Andrew Lansley could yet emerge as something of a hero of public sector reform.

The story tells of how what should have been seen as evolution of the NHS became revolution, and how ‘no top-down reorganisations’ became the phrase that would haunt the coalition  for weeks and months after it took power. It also examines the significance of coalition government in the story – without the Liberal Democrats it would have been a very different piece of legislation, yet without them the Bill would not have passed.

The story takes you through the twists and turns of the saga that dominated British media and politics told in a very distinctive, compelling style. The ‘Acts’ and ‘Scenes’ are reminiscent of a Jacobean drama (readers will decide of which type) making this a unique piece of journalism, which serves the important purpose of helping government become more effective at policy-making in the future.

Notes to editors: 

The Institute for Government will publish a Lessons from Never Again? commentary for government alongside Nick Timmins’ story. This will also be available from Thursday 12 July.

For media enquiries and comment, please contact:

Nadine Smith on 07850313791 or 020 7747 0400 at the Institute for Government.

For health-specific enquiries contact: Cara Phillips on 0207 307 2632 / 07584 146035 or c.phillips@kingsfund.org.uk at The King’s Fund.

Twitter hashtag: #nhsreform