The Daily Telegraph today carries news of a significant survey which shows the extent to which the medical profession has lost faith in Labour – and, more importantly, how it again is willing to trust and support the Conservative Party.
The survey of nearly 1,400 GPs, for GP magazine, showed that more than half felt that this Government’s record on health was "poor" or "very poor" and that a mere 15% would now vote Labour, compared with 44% at the time of the 1997 general election.
50% of the GPs questioned would now vote Conservative, compared with 24% in 1997.
Shadow Health Secretary Andrew Lansley is naturally delighted at the news:
“This is a real vote of confidence in the Conservative party’s policies for the NHS, from the people who have the greatest day to day responsibility for caring for patients. GPs know that we understand that they have an essential role, not only in providing care for patients, but also managing their entire treatment from the NHS.
In contrast Labour have seemed obsessed with undermining GPs at every turn. Their plans for polyclinics will put many family doctors out of business; their top-down targets have burdened GPs with bureaucracy; and their changes to medical training mean many junior doctors can’t find jobs.
Rather than fighting against GPs, the Conservatives will work together with them to deliver an NHS fit for the 21st century, centred around the needs of patients.”
This is a particular tribute to Mr Lansley himself, who has been diligently working on the health portfolio since 2004 and David Cameron has publicly promised him the job of Health Secretary if he becomes Prime Minister after the next election. As such, this should also serve as a lesson that if you have hard-working round pegs in round holes when it comes to shadow cabinet portfolios, then it is worth them remaining in place rather than being shuffled every twelve months.