Drop in trust for David Cameron as NHS guardian


David Cameron denies NHS policy 'disaster'

What we witnessed yesterday was not a humiliating U-turn. It was not a giant PR exercise. So, at least, says the prime minister. It was instead, he said, the rare sight of a government admitting it had got its plans wrong.

David Cameron has now accepted his critics' arguments that the prescription he and Nick Clegg originally wrote and persuaded their MPs to swallow would have sparked off an NHS revolution with competition between public, private and voluntary health providers driven by an aggressive new regulator.

Their new improved reformed reforms are, they insist, merely an evolution of New Labour's health service remedy - more choice, more competition and more private sector involvement but at a controlled pace.

The side effects of this policy accident are clear - a dramatic drop in trust in the prime minister as guardian of the NHS.

The long term prognosis for it is much harder to predict.

But remember the really bitter medicine has yet to take effect - the long term squeeze in health service finances.

The government will claim that its reforms will ease the inevitable pain.

Its critics - fewer today than they were before - will use any longer waiting list, any hospital closure, any problem to claim ministers made things worse - which is ironic since the authors of the original NHS reforms thought they were taking the politics out of the health service.

Nick Robinson Article written by Nick Robinson Nick Robinson Political editor

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  • rate this

    Comment number 65.

    The fiasco gets worse.

    Spending millions to increase NHS bureaucracy.

    150 PCTs replaced by 450-600 'clinical forums.' Three brand new quangos we never needed before - 'monitor' 'NHS commissioning body' and 'health education for england' And don't forget, every one of these needs it's own bureaucrats as well as all the clinicians.

    Tories: taking labours mess and making it worse.

  • rate this

    Comment number 64.

    #58 I agree that the thought of Labour back in power is terrifying.

    Look at the mess that even they now admit they made of everything last time.

    Voting Labour back into power would be like letting Peter Sutcliffe out of prison as he'd said sorry and promised not to do it again.

  • rate this

    Comment number 63.

    Changing the subject somewhat, a worrying tale of life on the breadline:-


    I suspect (and hope) that many of us on these pages indulging in the fun and games of political slanging-matches won't have to go through what is happening to these people.

    Can also recommend 'Poor Kids' on the i-player for a very sobering state-of-the-nation documentary.

  • rate this

    Comment number 62.

    This whole NHS reform programme has been a bit of a shambles from start to finish aswell as a PR nightmare. Lansley is certainly not smelling of roses and Cameron appears to be weakened in his own party (stroppy backbenchers furious that steps back have been taken and that Clegg has taken the credit for it).

    A shame in some ways as somebody has to have a long-term NHS policy,

    Don't they?

  • rate this

    Comment number 61.

    #57 - Strange request. There's nothing to forgive anyone for when they were born. If you mean do I think they can be excused for smashing up shops in the deluded belief that this will make the UK's finances better because of when they were born, of course I don't. I just wouldn't judge them in 30 years time for what they did today. Hopefully they'll go on and become useful members of society.


Comments 5 of 65



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