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It’s time to make up your minds and cast that vote

With 6 May fast approaching, I should probably be setting out the differences between the three parties on health and which one Hospital Dr thinks would be best for the NHS.

But, in truth, it’s impossible to say. For a start, this election isn’t going to be decided on health policies and they’ve barely been mentioned on the national stage. Our economic woes and the need to clean up politics have sidelined everything else, and the TV debates have thrown the focus on to personalities rather than policies.

And then there’s the problem that no one really knows what any of them are planning on health rationalisation. As the Institute of Fiscal Studies revealed, only a fraction of the required cuts in public spending have been outlined by any of the parties.

Despite lots of reassurances about protecting NHS funding and supporting frontline jobs, whatever they are, I’m sure there will be some nasty surprises following the election. We may be “bigots”, but the politicians are just peddling half-truths.   

So, what have we learned? Well, ideologically there’s nothing between them. They all hate managers and bureaucracy, and the NHS will be far more efficient under each of their parties. They’re all keen to give more power to frontline staff. The private sector will become more involved in the delivery of NHS services. Waiting times around cancer will be shortened. 

So, what don’t we know? Well, lot’s of stuff. There’s not been much about reconfiguring services, such as centralising specialist services, moving services into the community and taking a more preventative approach.

Darzi (remember him) was all about quality, and yet there’s been practically no discussion of the ongoing role of targets and regulation in supporting this. And what about the challenge to medical training posed by WTD? Yet more tumbleweed quietly blows past the hustings.

What did we learn from Swine Flu? Are our ‘dirty hospitals’ now clean? It seems that both the politicians and their voting public are quick to forget the big stories that have dominated the past few years.

More personally worrying has been the lack of scrutiny about demand. I’m not alone in questioning the longer-term sustainability of the NHS and what its role should be. Health economists have been banging on about it for years, but it appears to be electoral cyanide for all parties.

So, who will I (and Hospital Dr) be voting for? The Lib Dems as usual (or the Illiberal Democretins, as Jerry Nelson has re-christened them), but it’s got nothing to do with health policy.

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One Response to “It’s time to make up your minds and cast that vote”

  1. Cie says:

    Exactly – we will have to wait & see who gets into No 10 before we know what’s planned for NHS.

    Whichever party gets into power, public services will be affected, whether for good or bad, that too will become clear!

    I have not made up my mind as yet – would have voted labour but not after their bungling attempts to convince us they represent us – they represent no one but their own pockets!

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