"The left have spent too much time trying to get the private sector out of the NHS and the right have spent too much time trying to get people out of the NHS and into the private sector. Barbara Castle’s attempt to abolish pay beds was an example of the first; Margaret Thatcher’s support for giving tax relief on private medical insurance, and our Patients Passport policy at the last election, were examples of the second."
According to BBCi Mr Cameron promised to "defend the values of the NHS against those in his party who want a new system based on medical insurance." Patricia Hewitt, Health Secretary, said Mr Cameron was in "headlong retreat": "David Cameron has had to abandon a policy that he himself was putting forward just six months ago," she said. LibDem health spokesman Steve Webb said that Mr Cameron was dumping old policies without putting anything new in their place. Andrew Haldenby, of Reform, told the BBC that all the political parties should be more open minded about medical insurance.
The news that Stephen Dorrell MP and Baroness Perry have been appointed to Chair an 18-month commission on the public services confirms the idea that Major-era managerialism appears back in Tory fashion when it comes to the public services. School choice has already been downgraded as a policy aim. The Tory website now talks of public service improvement rather than reform.