Intended for healthcare professionals

Views & Reviews Review

The luck of the draw

BMJ 2008; 337 doi: (Published 19 August 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;337:a1366
  1. Ike Iheanacho, editor, Drug and Therapeutics Bulletin
  1. iiheanacho{at}

    New Labour came to power promising to do away with the postcode lottery in health care, but inequity is still rife. Ike Iheanacho is impressed by a documentary that illustrated just how nonsensical things have become

    “If you are ill or injured there will be a national health service there to help; and access to it will be based on need and need alone—not on your ability to pay, or on who your GP happens to be or on where you live.”

    Ultimately, promises are all that an aspiring party of democratic government can really offer. However well intentioned, such aspirations can easily be dismissed by a sceptical electorate as cheap talk. To be seen as anything more substantial, they must somehow home in on the weaknesses of those in power, encapsulate the public’s disaffection, and suggest a better future.

    The above pledge, made by New Labour in 1997, ticked all these boxes. In particular, the proposed eradication …

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