'Cowper's Cut' is my weekly column of summary, analysis and commentary on the key events in health politics and policy in the English NHS and care system.
'Cut' was launched in Health Service Journal in 2017, where it ran until July 2021. It has appeared here since then, by subscription.
Access to 'Cowper's Cut' on Health Policy Insight requires you to subscribe, at the almost painfully reasonable rate of £10.75 a month or £107.50 a year. (If you're a non-economist, the £107.50 yearly subscription option is better value.)
Following consultation with current subscribers, I changed my policy of an absolute and hard paywall, and I now put old columns outside the paywall once they're four weeks old. This allows the subscription-curious to see what they are missing, but means that any advantages of having information in a timely way is exclusive to subscribers. (I also left all my old Health Policy Insight material, dating back to its launch in 2008 and including all of Alan Maynards's columns for this site, outside the paywall.)
'Cut' is made by someone who's been writing about this sector for over two decades. Nothing comparable is available anywhere else.
This is a complex, fast-moving and political field. The work involved to write this weekly column to a consistently high standard requires a subscription business model to make it viable.
If you'd like to get 'Cowper's Cut', then you need to subscribe.
To help you over the line, you may find it useful to hear from current subscribers about why they've subscribed. There could be no better advocates for HPI and for 'Cut' than these people.
Author, ‘The Five Giants: A Biography Of The Welfare State’; ‘Never Again? The Story Of The 2012 Health And Social Care Act’; ‘Glaziers And Windowbreakers: Former Health Secretaries In Their Own Words’; ‘The World’s Biggest QUANGO: The First Five Years Of NHS England’
Senior fellow, Institute for Government & Kings Fund; senior associate, Nuffield Trust; former Financial Times public policy editor.
“As, just possibly, the longest-standing subscriber to Health Policy Insight, it has always been invaluable, insightful, funny and excellent value for money. Highly recommended. Go subscribe!”
Deputy editor, The Spectator
Author, 'Why We Get The Wrong Politicians' and 'The Natural Health Service: How Nature Can Help Heal Your Mind'
Columnist, i and Evening Standard
"Andy Cowper's 'Cut' briefing is absolutely essential reading."
Dr Phil Hammond
Author and comedian
'MD' columnist for Private Eye; a book of which pandemic columns is now out.
“I have subscribed to @HPIAndyCowper and his Health Policy Insight, because of his wise, detailed and accurate take on the NHS. (In going for the cheaper year-long subscription, I have gambled on Andrew living at least another 12 months. Please do.)”
Dr Michelle Drage
Chair, Londonwide LMC
"GP policy people ... go subscribe to Andy Cowper's Health Policy Insight and get 'Cowper's Cut'. Just do it."
Sir David Nicholson
Chair, Worcestershire Royal Hospital NHS Trust
Former chief executive, NHS Commissioining Board (now NHS England)
“As an NHS chair, how could I do my job without subscribing to HPI? I’ve subscribed for 12 months, on the basis the NHS will not be privatised this year.”
Director of strategy and operations, Nuffield Trust
Chair, National Voices
"@HPIAndyCowper is a one-man, slightly sweary, very independent thinktank. Sadly for him, unlike other independent thinktanks, he doesn't have a large endowment to keep him going. Follow the thread, and take appropriate action (subscribe!)"
CEO of Ipsos MORI
“For irreverent NHS commentary by @HPIAndyCowper, worth subscribing to this.”
Dame Gill Morgan
Chair, One Gloucestershire Integrated Care System
Former chair, NHS Providers
Former permanent secretary, Welsh Asdsembly Government
Former chief executive, NHS Confederation
“I have subscribed - we need Andy’s analysis, wit and wisdom”
Dr Axel Heitmueller
Managing director, Imperial College Health Partners
Director of Discover-NOW, Health Dara Research UK
“It’s the crack cocaine of health policy, don’t feel bad for giving in to keep @HPIAndyCowper writing. I’ve signed up (and signed my soul away) but it’s classified as essential reading - plus no one can resist @HPIAndyCowper.”
Karin Smyth MP
Labour Member of Parliament for Bristol South; Shadow Minister For Health And Social Care; former NHS manager
“Indispensable if you want to really understand what’s occurring NHS/social care-wise”
Dr Stephen Moir
Executive Director of Resources, City of Edinburgh Council
Former Chief People Officer, NHS England
“Great insights as always, Andy: why wouldn’t people subscribe?”
Chief executive, National Voices
“Informative and fun. I wish this could be said of all newsletters. Well worth the small subscription. Really good. It’s the only newsletter I read (and I get lots of them).”
Chief operating officer of Together First CIC, Barking & Dagenham's GP Federation
“Thoroughly enjoyed the Monday columns, a must-read for me as they gave an excellent contrasting view to the key healthcare stories of the week. Plus the columns do have a pleasing habit of annoying the right (wrong?) people at the right (wrong?) time.”
“You don't HAVE to subscribe to "Cut", but then you'll never have the satisfaction of going "I knew that" when other places put out exclusives.”
Director, Incisive Health
“Always funny, usually thought-provoking and very often right. @HPIAndyCowper is essential reading for anyone interested in the politics of health. Do subscribe to his new newsletter.”
Director of communications, NHS Confederation
“After feeling left out and deprived of insight, I'm pleased to say I've finally subscribed to Health Policy Insight. Having read @HPIAndyCowper 's latest pearls of wisdom, I consider myself up to speed and 'in front', not 'behind'. Why not do the same?”
Managing Partner and head of the healthcare practice at Monticle
Former lead, Competition and Cooperation team at NHS Improvement and Monitor
"Excellent as always. I always look forward to these ... do subscribe to get Andy's funny and thoughtful insights if you haven't already!"
If they've persuaded you, you can subscribe here.
July-August 2023 spans the two-year anniversary of my launching this as a standalone subscription service, following the end of its second season in Health Service Journal.
Just under 100% of the original annual subscribers renewed their subscriptions for another year. That remains an unusually high retention rate, and a delightful practical vote of confidence. It's remarkable that at this time of painfully high inflation, almost every one of the original annual subscribers renewed. And it is appreciated.
Although news isn't the primary purpose of HPI and 'Cut', it is sometimes broken here. As with breaking the news of NHS England hiring NHS Providers CE Chris Hopson as its new Chief Strategy Officer.
Or as with my publishing the (validated) text of the White Paper that became the recently-passed Health And Care Act (which resulted in getting a name-check in the House of Commons), and writing the first and best analysis of what it meant.
Going back a bit further, I was one of one people who spotted what Simon Stevens was actually doing in the 'Five-Year Forward View' when it was published in 2014: subverting the Lansley reforms in the 2012 Health And Social Care Act.