Sultans of spinBMJ 2000; 320 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.320.7237.811 (Published 18 March 2000) Cite this as: BMJ 2000;320:811
- Tony Delamothe
Panorama “Spin doctors,” BBC1, Monday 13 March at 10 pm
“Saving the NHS” was one of the key planks of the Labour party's election campaign, so convincing the electorate that this is happening has emerged as one of the main priorities of the government. This television programme argued that separating the substance of the government's claims about the NHS from the spin applied by its propaganda machine has become almost impossible.
Statements about spending on the health service have been the slipperiest. In 1998 a spending increase of £21bn over the following three years was announced. Later it emerged that half this sum resulted from triple counting—a practice decried by the Treasury select committee. It said that, for the sake of transparency, the government should refer to annual increases over the previous year rather than to cumulative totals—advice since ignored by the prime minister no fewer than 30 times. …