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Green Templeton College | Oxford

By Trish Greenhalgh

Steve Iliffe
Steve Iliffe discusses the 'crisis' in contemporary healthcare

For many years, a small but [almost] perfectly formed network of academics, policymakers, clinicians and health service leaders have congregated in Oxford in late summer to share ideas and research findings at the academic-service-policy interface. Organised by Alison Hann (University of Swansea) and Imelda McDermott (University of Manchester), HPPN has a tradition of asking critical questions that cross disciplinary boundaries and are best addressed through applied research, analysis of routinely collected data and intersectoral debate.

This year, the group chose Green Templeton College to host their conference (31st August and 1st September) and several GTC fellows attended. The conference included a wide range of topics, including:

  • The ‘crisis’ in contemporary healthcare: is it real or constructed? (Steve Iliffe)
  • To what extent are high-profile scandals in healthcare ‘fake news’? (Richard Bourne)
  • The challenges of providing healthcare for refugees and asylum seekers. (two presentations, from Christine Färber [Germany], Luke Robertshaw [UK])
  • The influence of the third sector in whole-system change (Tina Swani)
  • What do we mean by ‘culture change’ in healthcare organisations? (Martin Powell)
  • The ‘drift towards privatisation’ in the NHS: an examination of the paradox that NHS organisations increasingly need private income to survive (Mark Exworthy); and an anlaysis of how the Health and Social Care Act 2014 may have encouraged this drift (Vid Calovski)
  • The changing face of commissioning in the UK: financial, ethical and professional tensions associated with GP commissioning (Imelda McDermott) and issues of status, autonomy and scale for public health commissioners (Alex Hall)
  • Competing institutional logics in medical education (Simon Moralee)
  • Hospital accreditation as a policy transfer issue in the Eastern Mediterranean (Wesam Mansour)
  • Fragmentation – and options for reform – in the Chinese healthcare system (Binrui Zheng) 
  • The bureaucratization of healthcare through ‘PRINCE2’: tensions between doing the right thing and doing the thing right (Sara Shaw)
  • Examining safety incidents: Fuzzy set qualitative comparative analysis (fsQCA) (Mark Edwards and Mary Darking)
  • How should we pay dentists? A realist review (Tom Goodwin)
  • Studying the adoption and non-adoption of innovations in healthcare: a two-country study of faecal microbiota transplants (‘poo transplants’) (Pamela Kuhne)
  • The 7-day NHS: an analysis of a controversial policy using Matland’s ‘high policy ambiguity’ framework (Pauline Nelson)
  • Sources of alternative understanding about health and social care: an audience participation exercise in thinking differently (Andrew Gray)

A number of themes – notably complexity, the regulatory environment, healthcare financing, change (and resistance to it) and the extent to which data can be trusted – recurred across many of the presentations.

The HPPN was warmly welcomed by Green Templeton and we hope they will be back in future years, since their field of interest – applied research at the interface between healthcare, management and policy – resonates strongly with GTC’s own academic focus.