Progress | Centre-left Labour politics

Tory politics will undermine policy

The Tories’ desire to play politics with the NHS will lead them to ignore clinical advice and their own policies.

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The Tories’ NHS problem is not with their policy – they obviously have recognised that no government can be elected that threatens the basic principles of the NHS. No, their policies contain straightforward themes of public service reform, but their problem is caused by the contradiction between their policies and their politics.

Their policy says: ‘The NHS is too important to be allowed to be exploited by politicians for partisan gain…. To ensure that political interference does not result in the distortion of clinical priorities and the denial of autonomy to frontline NHS clinicians, we will establish an NHS board…’

This is a clear policy pledge to remove all political parties from the operation of the NHS.

However, their politics up and down the country are very different from this. David Cameron has said – presumably as a politician and not as a member of NHS frontline staff – that he will stop changes to hospital services even when  they have been clinically approved. It is difficult to see what this is except politics. In Enfield the Conservative PPC is pictured with David Cameron pledging support for the local campaign to keep their A&E and consultant-led maternity services open.

The clinically-led independent panel, set up to review improvements, agreed over a year ago that it is in the best interests of patients to make these changes.

Conservative politics is to ignore clinical advice.

Yet their policy is to remove themselves – as politicians – from such decisions.

Andrew Lansley commits himself to stopping changes to maternity services in Bury by saying: ‘I will have the power to do that within days if we are elected.’ But this is not in fact true because he will be elected on a policy of removing that power from himself.

The Conservatives call themselves the party of the NHS. Who do we believe: the Conservative politics or the Conservative policy?

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Paul Corrigan

was a health adviser to the Labour government

4 comments

  • I dont think Labour have a leg to stand on when it comes to the NHS. Take a look at NICE and the Liverpool Care Pathway deliberate EUTHANASIA policy we have, courtesy of Tony Blair’s chum Simon Stevens (now CEO of United Healthcare in America).

    Couple that with the millions of pounds spent on useless “consultants” like McKinsey, and you get fraud, waste and corruption on a grand scale.

    Kind of a fitting epitaph for this collapsing, bankrupt, criminal regime we have squatting on the tattered remains of a formerly sovereign, democratic nation, eh…

  • It’s easy but sloppy to take a ‘what have the Romans ever done for us?’ approach to the Government’s record on the NHS. There’s a strong record of policy delivery to defend and we need to take a moment during the coming campaign to remember the many achievements for patients – too many to list here – but yes John, they even include wider access to best practice in end of life care. These are policies of substance and unfortunately all we’ve heard so far in the ‘draft manifesto’ are please-all platitudes. The campaign can’t go on like this but I fear it will.

  • It’s easy but sloppy to take a ‘what have the Romans ever done for us?’ approach to the Government’s record on the NHS. There’s a strong record of policy delivery to defend and we need to take a moment during the coming campaign to remember the many achievements for patients – too many to list here – but yes John, they even include wider access to best practice in end of life care. These are policies of substance and unfortunately all we’ve heard so far in the ‘draft manifesto’ are please-all platitudes. The campaign can’t go on like this but I fear it will.

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