NHS polling – public tell Cameron to drop the bill

12th February, 2012 11:25 am

There’s some devastating YouGov polling on NHS “reform” for Cameron to digest today. Firstly, the public are firmly against his reforms. Almost half (48%) of the public oppose the reforms, compared to just 18% who back them.

But it’s not just the broad idea of the reforms that the public oppose – it’s the specifics. On the question of whether increasing competition in the NHS will improve health services (something which Labour were not against in principle in office), the public are similarly emphatic – only 19% say yes compared to 49% who say no:

The public are also believe that giving doctors more control over NHS budgets will make the service worse by a similar proportion (26% vs 41%). 50% of the public now believe that Cameron should drop the bill – compared to just 23% who think he should persevere. That shouldn’t be too much of a surprise. As Neil Foster noted here yesterday – Lord Ashcroft warned of the NHS reform risk a year ago.

Now that the right-wing press and the public have joined Labour, the Tory grassroots and members of the cabinet in opposing Lansley’s reforms – how much longer can the PM continue to back his health secretary, and these reforms?

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  • Anonymous

    BBC does not show any marches in England or in Wales, and I know we have had some, but we all remember when Blair brought in his sell off,  people by the Million marched, the death of maybe hundreds with Cleaning contracts going to labour donors and the massive rise in illness like MRSI.

    Unions took out full page adverts against the NHS changes have you seen any now, seem people are changing. I mean if Cameron did say sod it we made a mistake, then what for labour.

    I just think people have grown tired of the fights over Education NHS welfare, we do not have any real input into what is done or cannot do anything our selves we saw that with New labour,, we voted in labour to protect our NHS and to protect our nation and look at the mess  we are in.

    • Anonymous

      There are individual campaigns happening robert- eg 38 Degrees.
      Also pretty passionate blogs online, eg via the NHS Blogs on Guardian-
      for many months.If you are on twitter also- a lot of discussion there.
      Judging by the polls Mark and others have referred to Robert-
      I do think there is a level of great concern- but also confusion.
      The public haven’t exactly been invited to join a debate have they?!
      Maybe Labour can address some of that over the next 3 months;
      but I’d also like to see this as a cross party effort- it’s an issue
      which unites us all.


      • Csosseh

        many people are against the bill trebore, but the general public are largely ignorant of what the health and sociall care bill will mean for them, due to the way it is written and the fact that the campaign, against it, marches, petitions, etc have largely been ignored by main stream media.  but it is getting out there, 1,000  an hour were signing the e-petition.  we just need to keep going 🙂

  • Anonymous

    Hi, I’ve just heard E.Pickles on R4 news give the impression the govt
    has the moral high ground in taking on vested interests- and that this
    has been a long planned out process?!

    Interesting dynamic.Hasn’t EP just been ruled out as not one of the three
    cabinet ministers speaking out anonymously against the reforms?

    On the subject of “vested interests;” let’s think about what that might entail.
    Who or what will benefit from these reforms, and how?

    For example- the ideology of free markets being applied to public services-
    and to what extent.If this was about 7 years in the planning, and yet
    not widely publicly known or explained to the electorate, doesn’t this
    imply an agenda behind closed doors;and since the formation of coalition
    govt is now being rolled out- with little consultation or democratic process?

    The other aspects that occur to me are the powerful lobbies of a few
    doctors amongst the professions who may possible collude with the
    current agenda; and private companies.It’ might be about the entrepreneurs
    who want to gain in some way from the system- eg turning it into something
    competitive and generating profits; chances for personal gain also.

    I believe the vast majority of staff, professionals(including most doctors,)
    and patients have genuine cause for huge concern about the substance of these
    reforms; and to merely turn what should be a nuanced debate and wide dialogue
    about the future of health and social care for this country-
    into a political point scoring exercise is utterly cynical and surely more about
    preserving reputation and face saving at this point?

    There are some issues that should be above politics; certainly not a domain
    controlled by a few beauracrats or vested interests in the private sector;
    opportunistic politicians.

    It is a PUBLIC service, led by professionally trained staff and clinicians-
    but its function is to serve and meet the health needs of the population-
    purely on that motive.It is not there for rich pickings or successive
    govts to kick it around like a football for their own purposes of
    control of agenda and power.

    It also needs resources to provide consistent quality
    of service- and independent research which monitors changing demographics.
    Primarily though- real needs based, not for profit.

    And a system that is equitable, co operative, integrated and collaborative;
    not being turned into a quasi supermarket, competition and profits driven
    by a few vested interests- indeed.

    It doesn’t surprise me that the public share these grave concerns,
    as much as staff and professionals/patient representatives.

    Patching up with a few last minute PR announcements across
    news channels and chat shows looks even less convincing,
    and not the way to open up democratic process and debate.

    Perhaps there needs to be more time to consider-
    and far more inclusion of points made by representatives
    of the allied professions and public bodies?

    We need a Bill that is fit for purpose- but also that will be sustainable
    for future generations. Also, I think cross party consensus.

    Finally, I think so much of this has been costly and unnecessary
    for the past 18 months.
    Change could have discussed from within- but led by a broad range
    of experts and people working on the frontline.

    An open, transparent debate- considering its importance in the public interest.
    This seems to be more about reputation of parties to prove themselves
    as modernizing and radical- also asserting its power over control
    of agenda and securing that future?

    I think what this whole catastophic process has hilighted is the need
    for reform in how successive govts implement policy and use of democratic process,
    especially in areas that should be protected and outcomes so much in the public interest.
    My view is just one of many- but unless people speak out, this could all
    just slip by, and it all be too late to reverse the damage.
    In politics- public opinion based on real experience- matters.

    Thankyou, J

    • Steve

      Excellent response Joanne 28  – let’s keep the pressure up to Drop The Bill

    • Anonymous

      There is so much more that could be said and debated.

      Found these 2 articles which I think highly pertinent:

      “Health: low profile, high stakes.”
      9/4/10, Guardian.

      “Health and social care Bill: a dismal alternative to real reform;”
      8/2/12, Guardian.

      Phrases that stood out for me were:
      “a law made up on the hoof;” and “wrecking chances of real reform…”

      The prominent LD’s I’ve heard interviewed seem to be saying
      this is all now going ahead anyway?

  • GuyM

    Most people don’t like any form of change Mark.

    Part of every consultancy job I’ve had over the last decade plus has been change management.

    Vested interests want to keep things as they are, whether that be not having to learn a new bit of software, work in a new team, a new management framework or corporate structure.

    Just because a majority is against change does not mean you drop proposed changes.

    The the government thinks the NHS bill is right then they need to get on with it, they are paid to govern, not the vested interests in the NHS, public or anyone else.

  • Anonymous

    This is about addressing the health and social care needs of the population, not free enterprise. Public service is a different function to supermarkets.

    The NHS has always had high rankings for quality and efficiency,
    despite the great demands; not only that- but high level of skill amongst the professions an workforce; generally high rates of patient satisfaction.

    There will also always be anomalies that need addressing in a large organization
    with high level of demand and skill required.

    The vested interests could include powerful lobbies amongst a small minority of doctors, or private companies who may stand to gain from increasing competition
    and creating a postcode lottery.

    In my many years working in the NHS, the staff working on the frontline are not interested in politics or rhetoric- they just want to get on with the job
    and do what’s best for patients at all times.

    That’s not to say genuine reform over a period of time, led by
    frontline staff across all areas- not just a handful of GP’s, would not be
    welcomed.For example, there’s long been a need to join up health and social care provision.

    In othe words- real identified needs based on quality research-
    such as in the fields of public health- should be free from politics
    and inteference. 

    Just because governments say “jump” at any given time-
    doesn’t mean that those of us who have relevant experience have to comply
    or agree with everything.Especially when so much appears to be below the radar-
    and undemocratic process applied; unfathomable to understand- even by experts.

    I think this is more about political gain and control of agenda now;
    there is no justification to sacrifice any part of our frontline services-
    and especially the NHS- which we all rely on.

  • Anonymous

    Thankyou Steve- for some reason I didn’t receive your reply via my disqus feed- it’s a bit patchy!

    There’s a lot of activity online so I see- but it’s pulling it all together
    that could prove more effective in campaigning.


  • Anonymous

    Guy: That last paragraph. Remind  me of the landslide majority Cameron got for promising widespread change to the NHS 🙂

    P.S. Actually they ARE paid to govern in the interests of the public. Not themselves, or rather Andrew Lansley


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