My name is Peter Levin, and I live in Penzance, Cornwall, UK. I set up this website in 2009: in its original form it covered a wide variety of social policy topics. I relaunched it in 2016 and narrowed its focus to health and social care, as you can see from the titles of the posts. I am particularly interested in how ‘the system’ works – how decisions are taken and put into effect – and ways in which the public can get involved in these processes. As a subscriber to Which? since 1962, I reject the notion that patients should know their place and show grateful deference towards medical and allied professionals: we are now in the era of the savvy, questioning, internet-searching consumer, and partnership with the professionals should be the order of the day.
I’ve had a varied career so far: I studied physics at university and gained a PhD for my research into the oxidation of magnesium, but after a somewhat circuitous and completely unscheduled journey I embarked on a career teaching and researching social policy at the London School of Economics. (So yes, I admit to being a London expat, but I hope I can be regarded as a transplant rather than an incomer now.)
For more than fifty years my main research interest has been government planning and policy-making. My books include Government and the Planning Process (Allen & Unwin, 1976), on the planning of new towns and town expansion schemes in the 1960s, and Making Social Policy: The Mechanisms of Government and Politics and How to Investigate Them (Open University Press, 1997).
Since my move to Cornwall in 2005, when I finally retired from the LSE, I have poked my nose into many aspects of health and social care planning and provision in the Duchy. While I have found quite a lot to criticize – constructively, I hope – and certainly annoyed some people, I have met many others with open minds, happy to talk freely about the issues they face. Most recently, I have been very impressed by the way in which the leaders of the two NHS hospital trusts have been learning from their experience of coping with the Covid-19 pandemic and as I write are working towards integrating their two organizations into a single Trust.
The National Health Service is a strongly hierarchical organization, so researching into local conditions has inevitably led me into questioning what happens higher up the line. My latest enquiry (published on August 3rd, 2020) into ‘Delayed transfers of care’ has led me to conclude that NHS England’s guidance on the subject is – shockingly – both incoherent and impractical. I hope this situation can be resolved while maintaining that body’s position at arm’s length from the Department of Health and Social Care.
Here in Cornwall, I am on the committee of West Cornwall HealthWatch, a voluntary, independent campaigning health watchdog that has been serving West Cornwall since 1997. It monitors developments and campaigns to safeguard and improve services provided in West Cornwall by the National Health Service. I am hugely grateful to my fellow committee members for their encouragement and their local knowledge, on which I draw heavily.
All posts on this website are my own responsibility, and the views expressed are mine alone. I do not speak for West Cornwall HealthWatch. To contact me about any of the subjects that I write about, please send an email to this address:
(without the forward slashes, of course). I’ll be glad to hear from you.
21 January 2021
PS I also write on Higher Education. Please visit guides4students.net
All posts on this website are copyright © Peter Levin 2009-2021. All rights reserved.