'Shifting The Balance Of Power'

Using research to put the theory of the NHS plan into practice

Catherine Meaden
Opinion Leader Research

Introduction

'Just picture the scene: a fax arrives from the Department of Health requesting a fast turnaround proposal for an even faster turnaround piece of work. No problem at all? The only problem being 48 hours to write the proposal, the pitch a week later, and then go ahead that same day. The successful bidder would have less than 5 weeks from commission to full reporting to conduct an extensive and comprehensive qualitative research project with excluded groups (such as the homeless, substance misusers, young offenders and travellers) on a complex piece of policy, providing hard research outcomes. We took up the gauntlet and duly sent off our proposal. The following day we pitched to the team at the Department. Only a couple of hours later I answered the phone. It was the Department of Health to say they were delighted to tell us we had been awarded the contract. I too was delighted for about 10 seconds until the reality set in and my stomach started to churn at the prospect of delivering the project'