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David Nicholson in charge at the Department of Health!

At the bottom right of the Department of Health website is a tag cloud which is an aggregation of terms that have been highlighted in Department of Health publications. Behind it is a popular tags list – which gives a numerical value to the tag cloud terms.

During the last three months of last year I have kept an (almost) weekly check on the tag list. The figures are not completely exact – I did miss a couple of weeks – however the overall shape of the data holds true. You will note that I have just added up the total number of tags for the whole of the survey period – they are not weekly averages.

First –all the tag cloud data is here – you can see all the tags used – I have tried to group these into categories that make sense – you may disagree with some of the groupings – more of these later.

Here are some findings.

Leaders voice


David Nicholson is clearly the guvnor! If you were expecting  two of the most senior Department of Health Officials – the Chief Medical Officer – Sally Davies or the Permanent Secretary – Una O’Brien to feature strongly then you will be disappointed – there is no mention of either of them.

In fairness to Nicholson – until the current government the Department of Health has by and large been the Department of the NHS so we should expect him to feature prominently. However as reform plays out one would think there would be an increasing dissonance between such displays of centralist leadership vested in one person and the ambition for greater decentralisation.

Its also interesting that there is no mention of Andrew Lansley or any of his ministerial chums. I assume that this is DH policy. Mind you given the deeply unpopular NHS reforms this is probably a wise move.

Priority Areas

Here are the 15 most popular tags used by DH during October to December 2011


DH Priorities overall.

This final graph shows all the data grouped into the categories I mentioned at the start of the article.



If the Government Health Reforms are implemented how might the shape of this graph look in 18 months time?

What do you think?

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