News 2005 UK election special

Nowhere to go

BMJ 2005; 330 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.330.7498.986-a (Published 28 April 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;330:986
  1. Kieran Walshe, director
  1. Centre for Public Policy and Management, Manchester Business School

    If you believe in a nationalised NHS, or if you want to see health care privatised,Kieran Walshesays you don't have anyone to vote for

    So far in this election the debate on health policy has been reduced to a series of headline seeking but largely irrelevant issues, like methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and hospital cleaning, matrons, health checks for immigrants, and new children's hospitals. These are manufactured disagreements that cover up the fact that the three main parties—and particularly Labour and the Conservatives—largely agree about the future direction of the NHS.

    On money they all agree that the Labour government was right to commit itself to increase spending on the health service to European levels; they all support Labour's spending plans to 2008; and the only difference is that the Tories and the Liberal Democrats say they will spend even more. This government's lasting legacy will be that it …

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