Intended for healthcare professionals

Feature UK General Election 2017

Five health issues that have dominated general elections

BMJ 2017; 357 doi: (Published 10 May 2017) Cite this as: BMJ 2017;357:j2251
  1. Tom Moberly, UK editor
  1. The BMJ
  1. tmoberly{at}

The public sees the NHS as one of the top issues in the 2017 general election campaign. Tom Moberly looks at past elections in which healthcare took centre stage

1945—Formation of NHS

The Labour Party ran its 1945 general election campaign on a promise to create a national health service that would be funded through general taxation, available to everyone who needed it and free at the point of use. Labour won the election, securing 48% of votes and 61% of parliamentary seats, and formed its first majority government. The party increased its share of the vote by 12 percentage points in comparison with its showing in the previous election. This was, and remains, the largest swing in votes between leading parties ever achieved in a British general election.

1992—War of Jennifer’s ear

In the 1992 general election campaign the Labour Party ran an election broadcast that contrasted the care of two young girls, one of …

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