The New NHS: A GuideBMJ 2006; 333 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.333.7566.503 (Published 31 August 2006) Cite this as: BMJ 2006;333:503
- David J Hunter, professor of health policy and management (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- School for Health, Durham University
It is said that if you're not confused by the workings of the NHS then you don't really understand it. Since the New Labour government was first elected in 1997, four major NHS “redisorganisations” have occurred, culminating in the changes currently weakening the service further and which are arguably the most far reaching in its history. Most worrying, the government is unleashing forces over which it has, at best, imperfect control. Neither it nor any of us knows where the changes will ultimately lead. We are engaged in a massive experiment with the only certainty being that, at no other time since its inception, has the future of the NHS been so uncertain. At the core of this uncertainty is that no clear narrative connects the government's changes, with the result that policy after policy has been spewed out with a cavalier disregard for their purpose and impact. Little wonder that confusion is rife among staff, patients, and public.