UK government must stop making heroic promises, report says

BMJ 2002; 324 doi: (Published 20 April 2002) Cite this as: BMJ 2002;324:938
  1. Katherine Burke
  1. London

    Labour's first five years of health policy have left “an overwhelming impression of relentless, almost hyperactive intervention,” says an in-depth review by the King's Fund, an independent health charity.

    In the report, published last week, the King's Fund accused the government of unleashing a torrent of new policies since 1997, which have distracted the chief executives of trusts from more pressing issues of staffing, resources, and low morale.

    The report gave its verdict on 10 key policy areas—from funding to waiting times, rationing, and private sector involvement. Sometimes policies have been sound, but their implementation has foundered, the authors say—for example, waiting list initiatives, workforce expansion, and the move to make primary care organisations responsible for public health.

    In January 2000, Prime Minister Tony Blair outlined Labour's manifesto pledge to spend enough money on the NHS to match the rest of the European Union, measured as a percentage of the gross …

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