Wooden printing blocks for 'news' archive

As managing editor of, I don’t get to write all that many news stories (we have reporters, and very good they are too!)

However, because of my experience in working for policy titles and think-tanks, I tend to write the “big picture” or policy and finance stories that frame the context in which our readers work. Four stories I’ve written in the past month [mid December 2015 – mid January 2016]:

NHS deficits “unsustainable” – NAO warns: The National Audit Office publishes an annual report looking at the state of NHS trust finances, and it’s been getting gloomier and gloomier over the past four years.

This news story outlines the NAO’s latest findings as the backdrop against which hospital boards and IT departments will be making or not making IT investments; depending on whether they see technology as a way of achieving savings, or an easy target for cuts. The report also features in a editorial and one of my own blog-posts.

IT funds to come from transformation pot: This is a news story about another annual publication; NHS England’s forward planning guidance, aka the NHS chief executive’s “must do” list.

It’s a good example of a business to business title doing its job by relating a general publication to the interests of its readers – in this case by focusing on what the planning guidance has to say about NHS IT funding – and generating debate about it.

NHS England ad wants “outstanding” CI&TO: This is a straightforward news story about NHS England advertising for someone to fill the shoes of Tim Kelsey, its invariably headline-ready director of patients and information. ran profiles and analysis of Kelsey’s impact when he announced he was leaving for a job in Australia in October 2015, so this story adds a new dimension by listing some of the previous holders of the top job in NHS IT leadership, and indicating briefly how their roles have changed.

Blackpool struggles with Lorenzo deployment: This news story is based on a local newspaper report about problems with the deployment of an electronic patient record called Lorenzo at Blackpool’s big, acute hospital.

The trust’s press office said I could have 15 minutes with the IT director, but he and a colleague were on the phone for nearly an hour, and were very honest about why the roll-out was proving so difficult. So I wrote a feature as well.

This is a good example of a business to business publication doing its job by reporting frankly on problems, without taking a shock, horror, disaster approach. Nice as bad news headlines are for traffic!

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