NHS plans not ‘right direction’

Hannah ThompsonYouGovLabs and UK Public Opinion Website Editor
May 24, 2011, 7:57 PM GMT+0

Almost half of the British public believes that the NHS could benefit from reform but feels that the Government’s current policies are not taking it in the right direction, our poll has found. In contrast, around one in five thinks that the Government policies are taking the NHS in broadly the right direction, while exactly the same number feels that the NHS generally works well and is not in need of reform at all.

  • 46% feel that the NHS needs reform but that the current Government’s policies are ‘not going in the right direction’
  • 21% agree that the NHS needs reform, and also think that the Government’s policies are ‘taking broadly the right direction’
  • 21%, in comparison, think that the NHS generally works well and doesn’t need any major reforms

The issue of NHS reform has been particularly contentious for the Coalition Government. Prime Minister David Cameron, who in his election campaign pledged to ‘cut the deficit, not the NHS’ has come in for much criticism over his party’s plans to restructure the health system, in particular the way in which GPs operate, while Health Secretary Andrew Lansley has also faced opposition for his suggestion that the NHS should be subject to a regulator to promote competition within the service.

Indeed, Coalition partner Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has stated his objection to many of the Conservatives’ plans, and has vouched to veto some of the Tories’ key aims in favour of alternative proposals, stating that the NHS cannot be treated like a utility, namely ‘electricity or telephones’. In contrast, Tory backbencher Peter Bone hit back via Sky News, saying that ‘the idea that competition does not improve the health service is ridiculous’.