An alternative for the NHS

BMJ 1994; 308 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.308.6927.485 (Published 19 February 1994) Cite this as: BMJ 1994;308:485
  1. C Ham

    The publication of Health 2000,1 the Labour party's document on health and health services in Britain, indicates the outlines of an alternative health policy. Published on the same day that the government announced further substantial changes to London's hospital services resulting from the operation of the internal market, the document rejects the use of competition in the NHS. Instead, Labour's policy emphasises the importance of effective planning and the need for greater openness in the running of the NHS. A range of options is put forward for achieving these objectives, and a period of consultation will now begin.

    In line with the established rituals of political debate, Health 2000 starts ith a critique of Conservative policies on the NHS. Labour pulls no punches in pointing out what it sees as the flaws of these policies: the emphasis on privatisation and commercialisation, corruption in the use of public funds, and the emergence of a two tier service as a consequence of general practice fundholding. The document promises to reverse these developments, reasserting the importance of the founding principles of the NHS and arguing that improvements in both health and health services will be achieved only through coordination of policies in different sectors.

    In setting out these arguments Health 2000 does not propose turning the clock back to 1979. Rather, there is acceptance that some of the changes that have resulted from Working for Patients are worth while and should be adapted for Labour's own purposes. Most notably, the purchaser-provider split would be retained, although …

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