Britons tend to think Labour covered up failings at NHS hospitals – but they are still more trusted on the NHS than the Conservatives
Last week saw the publication of the Keogh review, an inquiry into the higher-than-expected hospital death rates at 14 NHS trusts during the last Labour government, which many argue were suppressed by the former Labour government for ‘electoral reasons.’ New YouGov research for the Sunday Times finds that more of the public believe Labour did cover up the failings than who think they did not, but Labour are still more trusted with the NHS than the Conservatives.
From what they have seen and heard, 41% of British adults say that the Labour government “knew about failing hospitals, but covered them up for political reasons.” 22% say they did not cover up NHS problems, but did fail to put them right, while 9% say problems they discovered were not covered up and were generally fixed.
Additionally, 43% say that the NHS got worse under Labour, while 25% say it stayed the same and 22% think it got better. These figures are only marginally better than they are for the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition: 47% say NHS standards have got worse under them, while 33% say they’ve stayed the same and 12% say they’ve got better.
However the poll also shows that even after the publication of the Keogh review 29% of the public trust Labour the most with the NHS, compared to 19% for the Conservatives. And using tracking data from just before the May 2010 general election to the beginning of this week, we can see that Labour are, on the whole, more trusted to deal with the problem of the NHS than the Conservatives.
The Keogh review began as a response to the Mid-Staffordshire Hospital scandal. Higher than average death rates have been found at the 14 NHS trusts examined, however they have not been on the same scale as that of the Mid-Staffordshire trust.