Labour’s claim to be the party of the NHS is goundless. That’s the view of Shadow Health Secretary Andrew Lansley after a poll of doctors found that just 7% intended to vote Labour at if a General Election was held this year. The poll of 1,442 doctors (carried out by Hospital Doctor magazine and Medix) found that support for Labour was down 17% compared to the last Election and support for the Tories had increased by 16%.
"Doctors at the heart of our services are not only suffering poor morale but have now lost confidence in Patricia Hewitt and Labour’s stewardship of the NHS. In the two years since the General Election there has been a huge swing from Labour to the Conservatives. Health professionals have heard David Cameron and I put the NHS at the forefront of Conservative priorities. They have heard us commit the next Conservative Government to a new partnership with health professionals and a NHS with is focused on patients’ interest not politically driven targets."
A less positive assessment of the reasons for the increase in support (written before the poll was published) comes from Fraser Nelson in The Business:
"In health, the party has assuaged the doctors’ and nursing unions by promising independence for the NHS bureaucracy and freedom from government reform with an “NHS Independence Bill”. It is a recipe for stagnation; the problem with the £106bn ($209bn, E156bn) NHS system is that it concentrates power in the hands of bureaucrats rather than patients… In health, the deeply unimpressive Andrew Lansley has treated his job as the Tory ambassador to the doctors’ unions. There is strategic advantage in campaigning against Labour’s tough decisions to reign in NHS spending: the Tories can pose as opponents of hospital ward closures, and thus attack Labour from the left."
Labour are about to trash the careers of 8,000 junior doctors says Mark Fulford on YourPlatform.