There was laughter in the room when John Lister ironically described the new NHS structure as “streamlined” and shared a Guardian graphic of the new bureaucracy. It set the tone for the NUJ’s Reporting on our health services masterclass, aimed at helping health reporters get to grips with confusing changes.
Lister, senior lecturer in health journalism at Coventry University, identified some of the main issues for journalists:
access to information
getting that information in a timely manner
getting a range of information – not just press releases, but also Board papers, statistics, other info that isn’t specifically targeted at the press
access to expert analysis. (You have the info, but can you make sense of it? Is there a specialist who can put it in context or add insight?)
He spoke about the slippery nature of transparency. For example, NHS England (the new name for the NHS Commissioning Board) is relatively open to reporting, but the real nitty-gritty decisions are made by Local Area Teams (LATs). Continue reading →
Last night Help Me Investigate attended the NUJ’s event on reporting the new health system. Panelists John Lister (Coventry University), Shaun Lintern (Health Service Journal) and Branwen Jeffreys (BBC) spoke in turn about how the new health system is structured (as best can be told); how to report on the new system; and the possible problems and opportunities within that.
The NUJ is hosting an event on April 11 “for a practical, informative and interactive session on reporting on our health services.” Alongside myself representing Help Me Investigate, a panel of much more interesting speakers includes:
BBC health correspondent Branwen Jeffreys
Health Service Journal’s Shaun Lintern
Leading health journalism expert John Lister
The event takes place at 7.00pm on Thursday 11 April at Headland House, Gray’s Inn Road, London WC1X 8DP. Full flier here (PDF).