At last: a political division on the NHS

BMJ 1996; 313 doi: (Published 14 December 1996) Cite this as: BMJ 1996;313:1506

As Britain counts the weeks until a general election in the first half of 1997, a political divide has at last emerged on the NHS. The Labour party has finally put its cards on the table, pledging to abandon GP fundholding and, with it, the internal market. Textual analysis may cast doubt on Labour's true intention to do away with fundholding, though a realistic working assumption must be to take it at face value.

The plan is to replace individual fundholding with a system of local commissioning in which typically 10 or 20 practices negotiate a common budget for hospital treatment of their patients (7 December, p 1427). Labour health spokesman Chris …

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