Friday, February 02, 2007

Tony Blair on the NHS

I must admit I am not Tony Blair's biggest fan. It was interesting listening to him this morning on BBC Radio 4's the Today program. this morning. (You can listen to the interview here, and Nick Robinson's review here)

He spouted lots about public services, and in particular the NHS. One of the beauties of the blogosphere is that people who know he is talking rot can and will answer back.

Well, unsurprisingly Dr Crippen has on his blog. I suggest you read this article here. Below is a brief extract:

Tony Blair has defended his record on the NHS, and said it was in much better shape than when he came to office.
[Not true. It is worse than it has ever been at any time in my medical career. Some waiting lists are shorter. I cannot think of anything else that is better, but could give you an endless list of things that are worse]

I suggest you read the rest.

I was also talking to a teacher. She has been in education under both Conservative and Labour, and thinks that overall education is worse of under Labour. So there you have it. Want decent public services? Vote Conservative. Or at least don't under any circumstances vote Labour.


Ellee said...

I think most people are beginning to feel the same way, we now have to convince them to vote Conservative.

Benedict White said...

Ellee, I think that is the million dollar question. Ultimately i don't know but the more people who work in the public services who come out saying it was better in 1997 the better, because people will wonder what on earth their taxes have been spent on.

Timothy said...

My only problem with this is that the things New Labour have done to Education and the NHS, that have created this mess, are Tory policies anyway.

PFI for example. A Tory policy. Completely bonkers and unnecessary, but also, undeniably, a Tory policy. Likewise for contracting out services like cleaning.

I can understand that things were, in some ways, better in 1997 than they are now, but, they would be even worse now if we'd had the Tories since then.

Not only would we have had the bonkers, stealth privatisation policies, but there wouldn't have been the extra funding, which has NOT all been wasted.

The NHS doesn't ever suffer from a winter flu crisis like it did every year under the Tories. Why? More nurses, more funding.

Benedict - Can you not see how maddening this situation is for someone on the left?

Benedict White said...

Timothy, where do I start?

"Benedict - Can you not see how maddening this situation is for someone on the left?"

Well, yes I can. How madening do you think it is for a person on the right to see so much money spent on so few to achieve so little? bearing in mind that the bottom 50% of the population probably pay more tax or at least it feals that way the the top 50%?

Yes, in principle PFI was a Conservative policy, but even Paul Foot in his Private Eye expose of PFI admited that the Conservative concept of PFI was very different from the Labour one, in that substantial risk was transfered to the private sector in the former which was removed by Labour in 1997. So don't blame us for that one, Paul Foot didn't.

Having said that why oh why promise to redo all schools and hospitals? Did they all need anything more than a maintenence budget? No. Not by a long chalk. So perfectly servicable public buildings are being replaced or having major makeovers so that Labour could look good, whether it was needed or not.

Contracting out I will leave for now, but why do we have no winter beds crisis despite the fact that there are over 10,000 less beds in the NHS?

Two reasons. Old people who need a hospital bed now have to pay for it, and, we have not had a winter since 1997. (I mean one that is cold, where I have to wrap up warm, rather than just put a jumper on under my open jacket)

Oh, and then there is the flue jab which helps.

Chris D said...

The galling thing is that there were badly run health authorities under both Labour and the conservatives, the people setting the agenda should be the admin/medical staff in the successful health trusts.
The conservatives were on the right track with NHS reform back in the early 90's but did not invest enough extra capital, we then had Labour scrap this reform, change tack to a much more inefficient form of deciding NHS performance ie waiting lists and then chucked billions down the drain.
What a bl**dy waste!

Benedict White said...

ChrisD, I agree. however the problem with putting lots of money into the NHS under the last Conservative government is that we had to balance the books after the long hard slog of restructuring the economy in the 1980's.

That said our NHS reforms were delivering results and continued to up until Labour crapped them.

chatterbox said...

Benedict, I accept part of your argument but in the early to mid 90's we were more concerned about the tax cuts and winning elections.
I know that Gordon Brown wisely choose to follow Ken Clark's spending plans in the first two years of his chancellorship, but still think the NHS was one area where Ken should have loosened the purse strings. I worked in the NHS from 84' to 93' and then used it a lot whilst having my family up till 97'. 93' - 97' is where most of the damage caused by lack of investment was becoming really evident in my area.
Funnily enough back in 87'-90' my local authority was running at a surplus and was offering all students a job! As one relative who was also a nurse pointed out the biggest REAL pay rise she ever had in 30 years was thanks to Mrs T!

Benedict White said...

Chatterbox, it was not so much about tax cuts and winning elections, it is about balancing the books to keep the economy going, which is why Gordon Brown followed Ken Clarkes spending plans!

That said Ken did think that what with the economy growing his plans were tighter than necessary.

paige said...

The truth of all this though is that we have to get rid of the NHS in order for our assimilation to be easier for the EU!

Why the hell does no one tell the truth?

More to the point why do the Conservatives remain adamant about our remaining in the EU when it is doing the UK so much harm?

You say Labour has let down the Post office, but that was the EU! why did you not blame them?

We've had one of the Tory bigwigs to our area saying how much he admires the fishing industry! WHAT? if you admire it then get the British waters out of the EU's hands.

It is all very well for all politicians to call each other and yet you are all the same! you spin for your own benefit, and Cameron to tell the party not to sign the Better off out even though many politicians from all parties have, was proof that he is there for himself and not the public!