Policy Exchange steps up NHS focus

Written by David Singleton on 22 October 2014 in News

Think tank hires Thomas Cawston in new head of health post 

Policy Exchange has hired a head of health as the political debate about the NHS gathers pace ahead of the 2015 general election.

Thomas Cawston leaves rival think thank Reform this week to take up the newly-created post. 

As research director at the right-of-centre body, he leads on public services reform and specialises in healthcare, advocating ideas on increasing competition and choice. He has co-authored reports on value for money in healthcare, NHS reform, open public services, welfare policy and economic growth.

In the new role, Cawston will help Policy Exchange to step up its focus on healthcare ahead of the 2015 election. 

The move comes as Ed Miliband has said Labour would create a £2.5bn 'time to care' fund for the NHS, which would pay for thousands of extra staff. It would be financed by a levy on the tobacco industry, a ‘mansion tax’ and clamping down on tax avoidance by hedge funds and other companies.

David Cameron is trying to prevent the health service becoming Labour’s election-winning weapon by guaranteeing that a majority Conservative government will protect the English NHS budget in real terms from 2015 to 2020.

Experts have warned that the promise will still leave the NHS under massive cost pressures due to soaring demand for NHS services largely caused by an ageing society.

This week the boss of the health service watchdog warned that the NHS needs extra funding to head off the “perfect storm” of pressures it will face in coming years. 

David Bennett, the chief executive of Monitor, told the Guardian that “simple, flat-real funding” would not be adequate for the future. He identified a growing and ageing population and higher expectations of care as some of the drivers behind extra demand on services. 


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