Archive for July, 2022

Media Network: Looking forward to a summer of politics and fairy-tale economics

Posted on: July 28th, 2022 by Tomas White

The biggest challenge is working out if MPs are telling the truth

By Keith Gladdis, former Daily Mail news editor

Claire Ellicott, starts as Acting Deputy Political Editor at the Mail on Sunday tomorrow, here she explains the challenges of covering the Conservative Party leadership election.

What have been the biggest challenges in covering this leadership race?

The biggest challenge is trying to work out whether MPs are actually telling you the truth about who they’re voting for! They’re not known as the most sophisticated electorate in the world for nothing. Allegations of dirty tricks have appeared in all the newspapers because the voting hasn’t followed a consistent pattern. It made it very hard to predict the outcome of the contest because you’re never quite sure if some of those MPs are trying to game the final outcome.

How much interest do you think there will be through the summer?

The contest will dominate over the next six weeks. While most Tory members seem to be supporting Liz Truss, support for Rishi Sunak is slowly growing so it really is all to play for. Summer is usually silly season for newspapers and quiet for the Lobby as MPs are away, but this year we will have a meaty blue-on-blue contest to keep us busy.

What will the major issues be as Rishi and Liz go head-to-head?  

Tax is the major conflict zone between the pair at the moment, as they take opposing views. Whether tax cuts are a fairy-tale that will simply push up inflation and wipe out any gains, or the right thing to do to stimulate growth will become a dividing line for Tory members. This will all, of course, feed into the cost of living which tops the list of concerns for voters in every poll. Net zero, meanwhile, has not featured highly among concerns for the Conservative grassroots, so we’ve heard little about it in this contest.

How much of an impact do newspaper stories and the television debates have on the election?

Newspapers still dictate the news agenda. They’re also the best medium for unearthing details of the lives of the leadership candidates, many of whom the public knew little about before the contest. Pitting candidates against each other in television debates is one of the better ways of deciding between them because communication is a key part of the job. They can be huge game changers, as we’ve seen in past elections.

What kind of stories are the Mail on Sunday looking for?

I will be looking for stories about the rival camps throughout the summer and their responses to the main issues affecting us all. The cost-of-living crisis is only going to get worse, and I will be looking for different ways of writing about that. Stories about the issues that most affect Tory members and what voters will be looking for in their next prime minister will also be top of my list.

Sun readers don’t care about business? Think again

By Alan Tovey, former Daily Telegraph Industry Editor

Ashley Armstrong took over as business editor of The Sun this month. Here she explains why the cost-of-living crisis means her readers care about business news.

What sort of story appeals to The Sun’s business page?

Everything to do with the cost-of-living crisis – businesses that are helping out, ripping off or explaining why shoppers are feeling a bit skint. Sun readers might have lower incomes than The Telegraph’s or Times’s demographics, but they are still aspirational and want a better life. They love an entrepreneurial story, like Victorian Plumbing or Gymshark, someone who has made millions through hard work or luck.

How does the Sun feel about business news?

We’re pro-good business – companies helping their staff and customers and reacting to the issues people face. But as soon as I hear of stories of businesses being hypocritical, ripping people off, or shrinkflation, The Sun will hold you to account. If a tub of margarine is getting smaller but the price is staying the same, we’ll report on it.

What’s the best way to interest The Sun in a business story?

The cost-of-living crisis means normal people care about business news in a way they haven’t since the 2008 financial crisis. People want to know why their wages don’t go so far, and what they can do about it. We want to help them understand. Don’t think Sun readers don’t care – they do.

Pictures matter. I’m playing around with the layout so the page looks different every day but what we always need is a really strong image. That will boost your chances of getting a place on my page.

Finally, don’t write in puns. We’ve got the best subs in the business. They will do that.

Why should businesses bother with The Sun?

The Sun is often overlooked by business. It should be required reading. At my old job [as Times retail editor] we were read by the bosses, the establishment, but now I’m writing for the workforce and customers. That means I’m looking for stories that hit the big employers with big customer bases: retail, telecoms, energy consumer businesses.

What has surprised about the job?

The share prices are sacrosanct. I was surprised. Every Sun business editor has tried to get rid of them but we just can’t. Maybe they are a barometer for the wider state of the economy. I had a reader email asking why I moved them. The fact that the reader had email meant they could get prices faster, but they still emailed. It shows how important they are.

A great picture gives you twice the chance of landing the story.

By James Rollinson

As Head of Business and Consumer at the Daily Mirror, Graham Hiscott has perfected the art of telling business news through a consumer lens, ensuring it appeals to the paper’s slightly older, left-leaning readership.

With almost 15 years of experience, Graham knows what makes a great story for the Mirror. He spoke exclusively to at a brunch event at 180 The Strand. His top tips included:

  1. Papers need a mix of light and shade. If there is a lot of heavy news around, such as the Tory leadership race, consider what light content you can offer to balance it out
  2. The best stories are human stories. They need to be relevant and relevant and relatable to the Mirror’s audience, which means either great case studies or interviews with business leaders from humble beginnings
  3. Graham’s weekly column is a great opportunity for coverage. Many aren’t aware that Graham writes a column on a Monday, which he described as an ‘open goal’ for PRs. Commentary from senior executives makes for great content, and is more likely to be used than a lengthy op-ed.
  4. Green stories need to be achievable. The Mirror is supportive of sustainability stories but its readers are unlikely to be buying new EVs or installing expensive solar panels, if there is something that can help them go greener at little cost or convenience, it could be a winner.
  5. Pictures can make or break a business story. If a story comes with great images, you will have two people pushing for it in an editorial meeting (Graham and the picture editor), so it will always have a much better chance of making the final cut.

BBC Business want to hear from CEOs – and you get bang for your buck

by former ITN presenter and reporter Charlotte Grant

There’s been big changes in the BBC Business team, with much of their coverage now coming out of Salford. Sara Wadeson, Planning Editor for BBC Business, told MHP Mischief that the team now looks after Business coverage on BBC Breakfast, Radio 5 Live and Radio 4’s Today programme and the World Service business programmes.

She says they want access to big chief executives and that a single interview can have a big impact: “If they can make time for interviews, we can run it across our programmes and really make the most of it”

Sara explains that they would record a long interview for Wake Up To Money, run a shorter version on Today and same for World Business Report and Business Matters. This is a huge global audience, and research shows they really like longer interviews, not just a quick back and forth.

BBC the key to Tory leadership race

By ex-News of the World political editor Ian Kirby

In any political campaign there is the ‘air war’ (speaking to media) and the ‘ground war’ (knocking on doors). The Tory leadership campaign has followed the standard course, with candidates giving exclusive interviews to their favoured newspapers and leaking titbits about their rivals to Lobby journalists.

Why else would Liz Truss target adverts on the political gossip site Guido Fawkes, or Penny Mordaunt tell Spectator TV she wanted a new UK theme tune? Coverage by Politico or ConservativeHome are apparently essential.

But the broadcasters are worried, especially those outside the BBC.

Liz Truss only gave her first interview once she made the final two … on the BBC Today programme.

One rival political broadcaster ruefully told me: ‘We’ll only get them to appear after they have done the BBC, and that includes their regional slots.’

And finally….

by Abigail Smith

The Daily Mirror isn’t the only paper looking to balance the light with the shade. A contact of ours on the Evening Standard digital team told us that their data shows that positive, lighted hearted stories consistently perform better on a Friday as people wind down for the weekend.

This echoes what Anthony France, crime correspondent and duty news editor, told us: ‘Feelgood stories are a must have for the weekend. After a week of consuming heavy news, punters want something they can bring up in the pub that night that will get a chuckle from their mates’.

Analysis: Financial Services and Markets Bill

Posted on: July 21st, 2022 by Tomas White

Future Regulatory Framework

The Bill implements the outcomes of the Future Regulatory Framework Review. The overarching aim of this measure is to ensure retained EU law will move to UK regulators’ rulebooks enabling them to act with greater speed and agility. In addition, the Bill affords the FCA and PRA a new secondary objective: to facilitate growth and competitiveness.

There has been some debate over whether pursuing international competitiveness might promote the lowering of standards or ‘light-touch regulation’, however others have argued such a secondary objective will ensure the UK’s financial services sector are globally competitive. What remains to be seen is how this new objective will be implemented, monitored and ultimately interplay with the FCA and PRAs primary objectives of promoting financial stability and consumer protection.

Supporting Financial Inclusion

The Bill also introduces a number of measures that support financial inclusion.

These include:

  1. Providing a legislative framework to protect access to cash for those that need it, with the FCA as the lead regulator.
  2. Secondly, given the proliferation of financial scams since the start of the pandemic (in the year to June 2021 fraud was committed at least 5 million times), the Government has focused on addressing Authorised Push Payment (APP) fraud in its Bill. This will enable regulators to require that victims of push payment scams are reimbursed, and that consumer protections are applied consistently.
  3. Thirdly, the Bill enables Credit Unions to offer more products, beyond primarily savings accounts and loans to now include hire purchase and conditional sale agreements – with the Bill giving the Government the power to add further services to the Credit Unions Act; and
  4. Fourthly, the Bill introduces a regulatory ‘gateway’ designed to improve the quality of financial promotions. This means regulated firms must pass through this before being able to approve the financial promotions of unauthorised firms, giving the FCA greater oversight of the approval of financial promotions.

Taken together these will make a measurable difference to the most financially vulnerable in society. However, as some commentators have long argued broader problems of financial exclusion continue to exist, with some calling for a longer-term solution to the problem such as giving regulators a statutory objective to promote financial inclusion.

The Regulation of Stablecoins

Finally, the Bill brings activities facilitating the use of certain stablecoins, where used as a means of payment, into the regulatory perimeter by amending existing e-money regulations. The Bill introduces a new definition of “digital settlement asset”, giving HM Treasury the power to amend this definition to account for future changes.

It is clear the Government’s staged approach to the wider regulation of digital assets, in starting with stablecoins, recognises that such tokens already share characteristics with existing forms of e-money. However, it should be noted that the Government intends to launch a consultation on its regulatory approach to wider crypto-assets, including those used as a means of investment later in 2022.

The Financial Services and Markets Bill represents the latest development in a rapidly shifting policy and regulatory landscape for the UK’s FinTech sector. Amidst the current political and economic turmoil policymakers will continue their efforts to ensure innovation in financial services do not come at the expense of consumer protection. Indeed, with the introduction of the Data Protection and Digital Information Bill; the PSR’s ongoing market reviews into card payment and interchange fees, and the Treasury Select Committee’s inquiry into the Crypto-asset industry – policymakers remain keen to understand where the UK can improve its rulemaking, whilst continuing to support the UK’s FinTech sector.

To explore the implications of these measures, and how they will continue to shape the future of the UK’s FinTech sector, please contact Sameer Gulati, Director, Financial Services.

MHP Mischief Media Network: The Daily Mirror’s Graham Hiscott on what he wants in a story

Posted on: July 20th, 2022 by Tomas White


Shade needs to be balanced with light

After more than two years of near-constant heavy news, PRs would be forgiven for wondering if there is now less space for lighter, brand-led content. The past few weeks have been no different, with Boris Johnson’s resignation and the resulting Tory leadership contest.. But Graham said editors are always looking to balance ‘the light and the shade’ within the paper, meaning there is always a place for a positive, light-hearted stories.

In fact, if could even be worth actively pitching them ahead of a heavy news day, as it’s just what many news and business desks may be after.

Be human

The best stories are human stories, says Graham. They need to be relevant and relatable. A good case study can be the difference between a nib and a page lead, so brands should consider them as a central part of any story, not an afterthought.

The same goes for profile pieces. Graham and his team want to hear from business leaders, especially those from humble beginnings with a story to tell. His readers aren’t interested in corporate speak and stuffy messaging, they want to read about aspirational stories from people they can relate to.

Cost-of-living stories should be advice-led

Graham predicts October’s rise of the energy price gap will turn the cost-of-living crisis will into the dominant news story once again. He is constantly looking for new ways to help his readers save money and get on top of their personal finances, so tips-led stories will always grab their attention.

Graham also writes a column every Monday which he described as an ‘open goal’ for PRs with commentary or advice to land. Op-eds rarely get a look in at the Mirror unless attributed to a very well known figure, such as a politician, so the column can be a good alternative.

Bringing back the sustainability agenda 

The pandemic hit at an unfortunate time for the green agenda, just as it was really making headway. Since then, the ongoing cost-of-living crisis, Russia-Ukraine conflict – not to mention the developments at Number 10 – has made it even harder for sustainability stories to carry the same weight in the paper.

The Mirror has always been supportive of the green agenda, and Graham is eager to see its return. However, stories must work for his audience. Mirror readers are unlikely to be shopping for new EVs or investing in expensive green tech, but if there is something that can help them go greener at little cost or convenience, then it could be a winner

A picture can tell a thousand words

Pictures can make or break a business story. If a story comes with great images, you will have two people pushing for it in an editorial meeting (Graham and the picture editor), so it will always have a much better chance of making the final cut.

Graham says it’s always worth considering commissioning your own pictures to give a story an extra boost, and save the picture desk going to a picture wire. If you can combine a tips-led piece with a strong case study and a compelling image, you’re on to a winner.

About bloody time! But was the publication of the Women’s Health Strategy worth the wait?

Posted on: July 20th, 2022 by Tomas White

Yesterday, the long-awaited Women’s Health Strategy for England was published – the first document of its kind. The strategy itself is, ultimately, a substantive, but much needed, health related menu of all things ‘female’*.  And yet we cannot help but wonder… why has it taken so long?  Not to downplay this momentous day, but immense fanfare surrounding its launch in the media makes it even clearer how much has been ignored for so long.

In fact, the newly-appointed health minister states as much in the foreword, recognising that “there are far too many cases where women’s voices have not been listened to”. We can take it as an important indicator that, in the current political climate, the Government decided to publish the Strategy swiftly – or at least not delay further. This is despite other important publications, such as the Health Disparities White Paper, being delayed. The statement of intent is clear; women’s health must be a priority no matter who the next Prime Minister is.

The strategy sets a 10-year timeframe, recognising that achieving its ambitions requires long-term cultural and system changes. How it is implemented will require coordinated effort and commitment from those across the health and care landscape – including the NHS, local authorities and social care. Especially in an NHS facing ongoing, existential system pressures, workforce gaps and no foreseeable uplift in funding.

So, what’s good? 

The recognition of the many different stages and specific health challenges women may face is a massive step forward, and long overdue. And it was welcomed by many individuals, groups and organisations publishing statements and posting on social channels yesterday.  The long list of announcements is broad…  pregnancy loss certificates, improvements for fertility services (including for female same-sex couples), specialist endometriosis services, a definition for trauma-informed practice in health settings, compulsory training for all new doctors (from 2024/25) on women’s health… to name but a few.

The commitment to all children receiving education on women’s health will have a substantial impact on shifting institutionalised negative behaviours, taboo and stigma in years to come.  Taskforces focussed on tackling maternity disparities and menopause-related challenges will ensure laser focus on these important health areas – and action has also been promised on sexual health more broadly, with confirmation from Health Secretary Steve Barclay that a Sexual Health Strategy is due in the Autumn.

The additional focus on the importance of ‘voice’ is also hugely welcome, if not unexpected.  The Strategy acknowledges the importance of primary care in the journey many women face by announcing urgent research by the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) into healthcare professionals’ experiences of listening to women in primary care, with a focus on menstrual and gynaecological symptoms.  This exercise is intended to ensure women’s voices inform policy; again, the intention will be to help tackle the well-trodden taboo and stigma often attached to certain aspects of women’s health – particularly the reproductive aspects such as periods, endometriosis, menopause and pelvic floor issues.  This is to be boosted with broader investment into research on women’s health, with a new NIHR policy research unit on reproductive health, an area with a myriad of challenges.  The focus on unpicking these challenges to find solutions, as opposed to simply accepting ‘it’s hard to do’, is vital.

And, of critical importance, it recognises the need for a holistic approach to women’s health,. Rather than looking at single interventions, it commits to embedding hybrid and wraparound services – an approach that will be enabled with the expansion of Women’s Health Hubs around the country.  Moving through the often multifaceted phases of ‘womanhood’ is a complicated and personalised process, with many different moving parts impacting the ability to engage with one’s own care.  The more cohesive the approach from the health system, the easier it will be for women to access the care they need when they need it.

Some key considerations

Importantly, the Strategy acknowledges the impact of broader societal challenges in terms of disparities in health outcomes for women.  The Strategy’s accompanying press release highlights steps that have already been taken by the Government, such as banning the availability of Botox and cosmetic fillers to under 18s, banning virginity testing and hymenoplasty, investing in family hubs and the Start for Life programme, abolishing the tampon tax, and offering protection against domestic abuse.

However, the need for a truly intersectional approach that considers wider socio-economic inequalities is key. For example, women are generally already under-represented in clinical trials, and the figures only get more concerning when broken down by demographics; those from LGBTQIA+ or ethnic minority communities are even less likely to be represented.  Meanwhile, racial bias in pain assessment and treatment is well documented, with women from ethnic minority backgrounds being less likely to have their concerns listened to by doctors and, subsequently, have higher maternity mortality rates. These issues are longstanding and unacceptable.

It is vital that the roll-out of the proposed initiatives consider the interplay between sex and other demographics.  This is, overwhelmingly, a medically-minded women’s health strategy – and addressing the wider systemic inequalities that affect health outcomes should not be left behind.

It also cannot be ignored that the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated existing issues in women’s health, with the Royal College of Obstetricians reporting that gynaecology waiting lists have grown by over 69% across the UK since the start of the pandemic.  In the context of a health system still recovering from COVID-19, a cohesive approach is critical to ensure NHS workforce and capital requirements can be met to turn these initiatives into reality on the ground.

What’s next?

With the FemTech revolution already well underway, the impact of increased research into women’s health could create an exponential shift in women and girls’ management of their health.  However, clearly, how this will be implemented in practice is key to any progress. There has been decades of underfunding into women’s health-related research, and this is not something that can be transformed overnight.

Education is also critical – embedding improved education on women’s health for both medical students but also in school will be a platform to create a long term shift; and expediting these would have huge value for the empowerment of women in managing their own health.

It goes without saying that the devil is in the detail and the practical implementation of these important announcements is what really matters.  As the NHS Confederation points out, the improvement of health outcomes for women requires “fundamental change in how the NHS provides care to women and listens to their needs”.   And clearly there is a core question about how all of this will be funded – not only up front but, as pointed out by the Local Government Association, sustainable funding for public health is key to the success of the Strategy.

With the recent Roe v. Wade decision in America unsettling many of us, this does feel like a welcome, and very timely, commitment from the Government to the empowerment of women when it comes to their health. Now it is about turning words into reality.

*NB. A note on terminology; For brevity throughout this blog, we largely speak of “women” and “women’s health”. Of course, it is not only people who identify as women for whom it is necessary to access these health and reproductive services and who are affected by the issues raised here. We believe that progress in the space on these issues will also positively influence the lives of individuals whose gender identity does not align with the sex they were assigned at birth.

Capital Markets ESG Insights: July

Posted on: July 19th, 2022 by Tomas White

In this latest iteration of MHP Capital Markets’ quarterly ESG Insights newsletter, we examine how perceptions of ESG have evolved over the past six months following a wave of criticism across the market questioning its relevance and future.

With Scope 3 emissions dominating the corporate climate responsibility agenda this year, we take a closer look at how corporates are communicating their approach to becoming net zero in their supply chains.

Whilst this remains an important focus, we also explore how the market is beginning to look beyond net zero, examining those companies that are committing to take this further and become climate positive, and what this looks like in practice.

We also feature Tyman as our Client in Focus.




For any questions or feedback, please contact the team at [email protected].

Health: Everything EU Need to Know

Posted on: July 15th, 2022 by Tomas White

Too hard to handle?
EU policymakers are not sold on value-based pricing

As pharmaceutical innovation continues, the question of value-based pricing for treatments continues to raise its head on, as a more nuanced pricing model to reflect things like unique treatment characteristics, or small patient populations.

Examples of successful implementation exist, but wholesale payer policy change towards a holistic value-based pricing model has been glacial – with the complex legal, regulatory and payer reimbursement landscape failing to keep pace with scientific innovation.

We spoke to four former policymakers – a former health minister from the UK, a former drugs policy minister from Poland, a former chair of the German AMNOG Arbitration Board and a former Canadian Health Minister to help understand what pharmaceutical companies can do to make value-based pricing (VBP) a reality.

1. Engage with the right people at the right time

According to our experts, pharmaceutical companies tend to have conversations about pricing at the time of launch, but these launches rarely take government budget cycles into account. If conversations occur towards the end of a budget cycle, or outside of the budget cycle window, they’re much less likely to penetrate the government “machine”. Depending on the country, there are multiple departments and stakeholders you could bring on board early to strengthen your case – early engagement timed right could go a long way.

2. Sell “value” in their terms

Ultimately, political leaders are looking to get re-elected, and implementing a complicated new reimbursement system is unlikely to deliver “wins” quickly enough to make a dent on their approval ratings. The way pharmaceutical companies currently try to sell value-based pricing doesn’t chime with policymakers – and too often comes from an argument of ‘rewarding innovation’. Any VBP offer needs to have a solid business case with a clearly differentiated proposition, an understanding of the health system partner’s economic context, and ideally examples of the proposal working in practice.

3. Start small and scale

Implementing IBP nationally will likely require wholesale restructuring of the price negotiation process, which is unlikely to happen. Building local or regional projects and using them as the proof points to scale more widely is your best chance of success in the short term. In the longer term, as the number of multi-indication medicines grows, healthcare systems will be less able to approach negotiations on a case-by-case basis. Collating existing examples of VBP and formalising them into a proposal that demonstrates the merit of VBP and addresses some of the perceived barriers will help to build momentum for change.

4. Put the patient at the centre

Because pricing is personal, pharmaceutical companies tend to go it alone in these conversations. External pressure on policymakers, especially from a public/patient voice, can help make it untenable for the healthcare system not to find a solution to the problem



Twitter-famous health economist, now health minister, looks to cut medicine prices


Prof Karl Lauterbach, Professor of Health Economics and Social Democratic Party Member of the German Bundestag since 2005, shot to prominence during the COVID-19 pandemic as an expert commentator on the virus (or a “COVID Cassandra” depending on who you ask). As a rough indicator of his journey to household name, in his prior life as just a Bundestag Member and a respected voice in health policy in the EU’s largest country, Lauterbach had 90,000 Twitter followers in January 2020. Just over two years on, he has nearly 1 million, four times as many as Sajid Javid, and about twice as many as Patty Murray, Chair of the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.

Lauterbach has a long record of published articles and comments on health policy. He’s co-authored articles and given interviews about the success of Germany’s Disease Management Programmes and how Germany’s disease management programmes (currently covering diabetes, asthma, COPD, heart disease and breast cancer) are a way of combining ‘competition’ and ‘solidarity’, driving up quality of care.

In response to the financial crisis Germany’s health insurance funds are in, Lauterbach has put forward, and then withdrawn a draft bill which would which aim to contain the cost of medicines. The floated reforms have caused a ferocious and sustained response from the Federal Association of the Pharmaceutical Industry, who are warning it will cause supply shortages and saying the draft Bill breaks the coalition agreement. The Bill had apparently not been discussed with the SDP’s coalition partners before launch, Lauterbach has appeared to step back and says it was merely the “beginning of a dialogue”. However, if the alternative to such a measure is higher insurance contributions, then resisting measures to reduce medicines prices may be politically impossible.


What the outcome of the presidential and legislative elections means for the Health agenda


Following the presidential elections on 20 May, Brigitte Bourguignon was appointed as the new Minister for Solidarity and Health. She swiftly lost in the legislative elections to Marie Le Pen’s National Rally candidate Christine Engrand by 56 votes. Alas, she was not the only appointed member of Macron’s Government that did not make it to the chamber of the Deputy– with two more appointed ministers having to resign (appointed Minister for ecological transition Amelie de Montchalin; and Justine Benin, Secretary of State for the Sea, both lost to left-wing alliance candidates).

Macron’s party only got 245 seats at the chamber of the Deputies, short of 44 seats to get the majority. This means that Macron’s party might have to make strategic alliances with other parties like the Republicans (mainstream right) who got 61 seats or the NUPES (the new left-wing alliance) who got 131 seats to get some of its key bills through.

In early July, François Braun, a 60-year-old doctor, was appointed as Health Minister – having supported Macron with his election health proposals. In his presidential manifesto, Macron’s health proposals focused on addressing the lack of access to GPs and other healthcare professionals for people in more rural areas. Other priorities outlined in Macron’s Manifesto included enhancing telemedicine, regulating more strongly where GPs can settle across France through targeted incentives, and simplifying the liaison between public hospitals and private practitioners.

Since May, Braun has been working on a  “flash mission” to establish the first measures to try to support the healthcare sector – with an eyewatering 41 conclusions. A key measure is a national campaign on appropriate use of emergency services, which has already garnered criticism in a the context of months of media reporting of hospitals experiencing serious staffing issues, both in rural and big urban areas, forcing a number of A&E and maternity units to close down temporarily. The president of the trade union for the emergency services described Braun’s appointment and policies as a “provocation”, saying it would lead to a “revolt in the world of health”.


EU proposes to knock down barriers to health data-sharing across the bloc


The EU Commission has lined up EUR 810 million in funding to create the new European Health Data Space (EHDS), which it expects to come into effect in 2025. Yet to be discussed by the Council or Parliament, it aims to make sharing of health data across member states easier, and forms part of the EU’s more general ‘GDPR+’ data infrastructure overhaul.

Data has the potential to revolutionise approaches to research and improve equal access to treatment across the EU, decision-making for system leaders, and innovation in life sciences. However, across the EU, data infrastructure is often seen as fragmented, with differing standards making it hard to share data to these ends. The EU says that the EHDS, and the accompanying standardisation of data rules, will help patients, healthcare professionals, researchers, policymakers and industry by making health data “as open as possible, and as closed as necessary”.

The Commission hopes that patients will have better access to their own data, health services will be more efficient and better able to care for patients from other EU countries, and research and innovation in the digital healthcare and life sciences will be boosted by streamlining regulation.

Whilst this ostensibly constitutes progress for the EU’s health data sector, patient groups have also cautioned that access should also come only with control, choice and transparency for the patient, and that new processes should not add to administrative burdens. Patient groups have also urged the EU to recognise existing differences and inequalities between member states, and use the EHDS as a tool to address inequalities. These topics will likely get more discussion when Parliament gets its say in the coming months.


Healthcare transformation as needed to ‘level up’ chronic disease care exposed


The EU Commission has lined up EUR 810 million in funding to create the new European Health Data Space (EHDS), which it expects to come into effect in 2025. Yet to be discussed by the Council or Parliament, it aims to make sharing of health data across member states easier, and forms part of the EU’s more general ‘GDPR+’ data infrastructure overhaul.

Data has the potential to revolutionise approaches to research and improve equal access to treatment across the EU, decision-making for system leaders, and innovation in life sciences. However, across the EU, data infrastructure is often seen as fragmented, with differing standards making it hard to share data to these ends. The EU says that the EHDS, and the accompanying standardisation of data rules, will help patients, healthcare professionals, researchers, policymakers and industry by making health data “as open as possible, and as closed as necessary”.

The Commission hopes that patients will have better access to their own data, health services will be more efficient and better able to care for patients from other EU countries, and research and innovation in the digital healthcare and life sciences will be boosted by streamlining regulation.

Whilst this ostensibly constitutes progress for the EU’s health data sector, patient groups have also cautioned that access should also come only with control, choice and transparency for the patient, and that new processes should not add to administrative burdens. Patient groups have also urged the EU to recognise existing differences and inequalities between member states, and use the EHDS as a tool to address inequalities. These topics will likely get more discussion when Parliament gets its say in the coming months.

This month’s contributors

Maddy Farnworth
Maddy leads our global policy work, and has a special interest in post-pandemic health system sustainability and resilience. She’s sat in more meetings with policymakers making international comparisons than she’d care to admit.

Noah Froud
Senior Account Manager
Noah is the brains behind our newsletter, and previously worked for a Member of the European Parliament. He’s an unashamed health policy nerd and has his finger on the pulse of UK and European developments.

Beth Harwood
Account Executive
Beth recently joined the MHP team following her master’s degree in Global Public Health.

Julie Henri
Account Manager
Julie is one of our global health experts, and conveniently is also French, so naturally knows the inner workings of Macron’s mind.

Chris Sargent
Account Manager
Chris spent two years living in China working for the British Chamber of Commerce and speaks both Chinese and French.

Sophie Vandenbroucke
Account Executive
Sophie joined our team as an Account Executive in January 2022.  She has at least three degrees which puts most of the rest of the team to shame.

Media Network: Shaun Lintern, Health Editor, The Sunday Times — on Pharma’s opportunity in health campaigning

Posted on: July 11th, 2022 by Tomas White

Shaun Lintern, Health Editor at the Sunday Times, has built a reputation as one of the leading advocates of patient safety in the UK.

MHP Mischief’s Jaber Mohamed, former senior advisor at the Department of Health, spoke to him for the MHP Media Network.

1: What is the role of pharma companies when it comes to campaigning for health issues?

I know pharma companies often work with charities and patient groups to support their campaigns, but they often don’t want to be overt about their involvement. I think that’s the worst possible approach because it looks suspicious, like they’re trying to hide something. They should either not be involved at all or be transparent about their involvement. If I see companies being open about why they are supporting a campaign I’m more likely to engage with them and the story.

2: What sort of pharma stories would you like to cover?

I don’t think the public really understand what it takes, in terms of time, resource and cost, to develop a drug and get it to market. I read somewhere that for every 10 drugs that begin development only one will make it market, so it has to pay for the research into the other nine. I’d love to work with pharma companies to explain the complexities of drug development and some of the supply chain issues that lead to drug shortages. I’d be open to interviews with any pharma companies who want to talk about this.

3: What is the role of trade media and why shouldn’t they be ignored?

As a former journalist for a trade title I know decision makers, such as NHS managers and directors, pay attention to what appears in the trade press so you ignore them at your own peril. I spend a lot of time looking at trade media to help me generate ideas for stories. Since the decline of local papers, great trade publications like Inside Housing, the Local Government Chronicle and Health Service Journal have a lot of enterprising young reporters and now produce a lot of future national journalists.

Expect a boring replacement for Boris, says Times Radio’s Lucy Fisher

By Abigail Smith

While there is not yet a clear successor to Boris Johnson, we can expect his replacement to be far more traditional and serious, with a greater grasp of policy detail, according to Times Radio Chief Political Commentator Lucy Fisher.

Speaking at a MHP Mischief panel event yesterday, Fisher said Conservatives have grown tired of Johnson’s light touch knowledge of important issues and promises going underdelivered. She expects fiscal policy and rebuilding the economy to become the policy major themes, while there is an opportunity for the new leader to restore relations between business and the Tories after Boris’ ‘f*** business’ approach.

There could also be a broader shift away from the culture wars which have characterised society in recent years, including the shelving of plans to privatise Channel 4.

In summary, Fisher thinks the Tories will take a safety first approach: “Looking back at recent contests, it tends to be the candidate with the fewest enemies rather than with most friends that wins.”

Great images and punchy quotes key to securing business and consumer coverage in the Mirror

By James Rollinson

On 14th July, the MHP Mischief Media Network is hosting a brunch briefing with Daily Mirror Head of Business and Consumer Graham Hiscott. He will talk about how the role has changed in Graham’s 15 years at the paper, the key topics he wants to cover over and how brands and PRs can optimise stories for his audience.

In a pre-briefing ahead of the session, Hiscott has already stressed the importance of great images for the pieces he writes. A brilliant image can turn a NIB (news in brief) into a page lead in the paper, while a selection of images is a prerequisite for online coverage.

Quotes are equally as important. Good stories have not made in the past due to vanilla brand/spokespeople quotes, while a punchy, interesting comment can elevate an otherwise dull press release.

To join us, please RSVP to [email protected].

Looming recession continues to dominate national business pages

By Pete Lambie

‘PRs need to be available out of hours’ says 30toWatch winner Molly Clayton

By Keith Gladdis former Daily Mail executive news editor  

PR Week spoke to MHP Mischief’s 30toWatch winners to ask them what they think of the industry and what tips they have for pitching stories. Here’s Mail on Sunday news reporter Molly Clayton’s tips for PRs.

Be available out of hours

As a Sunday journalist Molly can file stories as late as 8pm on a Saturday but she often struggles to get hold of PRs after 5pm on a Friday. “That can be quite frustrating” she says. Out of hours numbers for PR teams are essential.

Make your pitch short and to the point

PRs need to ‘get the top line right’ when they pitch a story says Molly ‘being able to pitch it in a few lines because, ultimately, that’s how I’m going to pitch it to my editor’. But don’t even bother to pitch to a Sunday if the story has been elsewhere. ‘If the dailies have already picked it up, it’s very unlikely that we will, even if it’s a great story’.

Sunday’s want an exclusive

Sunday stories need to be new, but also need to be exclusive to the title you are pitching to. Molly says: ‘I got a really great story in my inbox yesterday from a PR. I said: “That’s fantastic, can we have it exclusively?” They came back and said: “No, sorry, it’s gone out to everybody,” and in that case, we won’t then run it.’

When it comes to TV news, timing is everything

by former ITN presenter and reporter Charlotte Grant

For any brand wanting broadcast coverage, it’s important to remember that the time of day the news programme is on will dictate its content.

For breakfast TV, very little ‘actual’ news is happening at 6am. They often preview something that hasn’t happened, or talk about what happened yesterday, which is why big overnight US stories always do well for them. Meanwhile, evening news programmes are very focused on the events of that day.

This provides an opportunity for brands that can offer exclusives. Good Morning Britain’s Louisa James tells us she ideally wants stories that are exclusive until 9am, meaning GMB can invest time and resource into the segment but other outlets can still run it afterwards and brands can achieve multiple coverage hits.

MHP Mischief 30toWatch and Westminster News Editor at ITV News Rachel Bradley believes allowing enough time for TV pieces to be crafted also helps. She told us PRs and brands should remember that TV segments take more planning and logistics than print and online pieces: “We need pictures and people to tell these stories, and we need as much time as possible to get them together and make interesting, well-produced films.”

Movers and Shakers

Andrew Dagnell, Head of Newsgathering, has been promoted to Editor of ITV News. He will be in charge of ITV’s national news, ITV London, ITV Tonight, documentaries, live specials and the ITV News website. Current editor, Rachel Corp, has been appointed CEO of ITN. Both positions will start from 1 September.

Political Insider: MHP + Savanta Conservative Leadership Snap Poll Results

Posted on: July 10th, 2022 by Tomas White


Ready for Rishi

The poll suggests voters are ready for Rishi. Perhaps unsurprisingly so, given his high profile during the COVID crisis.  But it also suggests that the controversy around his Green Card and his wife’s Non-Dom status has failed to resonate as negatively with voters as Westminster insiders expected. His introductory film was much mocked in Westminster, but perhaps we should see it more as Sunak pitching himself over the heads of his MP colleagues to the electorate – their ultimate bosses. It is a high risk strategy.

Ben Wallace Surprises

Meanwhile, Ben Wallace is rarely considered a source of surprise in Westminster, but has managed to surprise twice in one weekend. Rating a clear second place in our poll, there were surprising signs of an early Ben Wallace bandwagon, so with clear support amongst Party members and voters alike, his decision not to take part in the process was all the more surprising.

Wallace’s decision may prove to be doubly influential.  Those openly supporting him will be up for grabs by others in the competition – and look to where his endorsement goes – but as a clearly popular and highly competent candidate, his decision also sets a high bar for other candidates declaring.  As the list of candidates grows ever longer, so Party patience may wear thin prompting pressure on the 1922 Committee to limit the field.



Johnson Should Go (Now)

Meanwhile our poll indicates popular patience with Johnson remains equally thin. A substantial majority of the public want Johnson to hand over immediately to an interim Prime Minister. This will be welcome news to Kier Starmer as he deploys his ‘Squatter in Downing Street’ attack, and present a further complication for the Backbench 1922 Committee as they finalise the election rules early this week.

What Next?

The campaign to replace Johnson has barely begun but, in much the same way as his Premiership, it is shaping up to be as unpredictable as it will be decisive. Candidates have thus far eschewed the formal press conference launch in order to minimise early missteps prompted by answering (or not) awkward questions. Perhaps the unintended consequence is that Westminster now abounds in rumours of dodgy dossiers circulating from rival camps (official or ‘freelance’). An unedifying campaign will serve only to further polarise positions and undo the ‘healing’ that the Conservatives must hope will be the by-product of the contest.

As the policy differences extend beyond promises on tax Insider will be there with you all the way through, with insight and comment, powered by further collaboration with Savanta.

To explore the implications of Boris Johnson’s resignation, the potential challengers for PM, and what a new government might mean for the policy landscape, please contact James Gurling, Executive Chair, Public Affairs.