The Centre for Health and the Public Interest (CHPI) began operation in June 2013 as a dynamic health and social care policy think-tank committed to the founding principles of the NHS.
The primary focus of the Centre is to ensure that the public interest is given paramount importance in the development and discussion of health and social care policy.
It subjects current policy to careful, evidence-based critical scrutiny, and explores alternative solutions to the challenges of providing universal high quality health and social care, based on promoting greater democratic determination and accountability in the organisation and delivery of health and social care, emphasising the importance of probity, integrity and transparency in health policy-making and focusing strongly on the social determinants of health and well-being.
The Centre’s approach is UK-wide and aims to learn from developments within and across the 4 countries of the UK, and in other countries.
Why is the CHPI necessary?
The need for such a Centre has been evident since 2000, if not earlier. A democratic deficit has emerged in which decisions about health and social care policy have been taken by a tight network of actors to the detriment of the public interest. This was brought into sharp focus when the Health and Social Care Bill made its way through Parliament in 2011-12, and is once again evident in the current planning process for the NHS in England through a system of ‘Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships’ drawn from local health and social care professionals with no basis in law or representation.
Moreover, policy making has become less transparent, more opaque and more centralised than ever before. There are increasing concerns about conflicts of interest emerging for practitioners of health care in England, as well as for policy-makers themselves, and about the lack of genuine accountability for the coverage and quality of the health and social care services available to the public whose taxes finance them.
No other research-based body currently exists that is unconnected to either the government or the corporate sector and presents a critical view of the far-reaching and ongoing reorganisations imposed on the NHS since 2012.