By Tim Montgomerie
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Today's YouGov poll for The Sunday Times (PDF) finds widepread opposition to the Coalition's Health and Social Care Bill:
- 18% support the reforms; 48% oppose.
- 19% think increasing competition will improve NHS services but 49% disagree.
- 23% think the Coalition should continue with the NHS reforms but 50% think they should be abandoned.
- 22% identify David Cameron as the party leader they most trust on the NHS compared to 26% who most trust Ed Miliband.
David Cameron gives his strongest signal yet that he is determined to plough on. Writing for The Sunday Times (£) he promises to build the NHS that the British people deserve. Some key extracts of his article are posted below…
Remembering his own experience with his son Ivan David Cameron reaffirms his personal commitment to the NHS: "As a parent, night after night, I’ve known what it is to have the National Health Service by your side. I’ve seen the dedication — the reassurance that if the worst happens the NHS will be there for your family. That’s why I so strongly support the founding principle of the NHS: healthcare for all, free at the point of use, unrelated to the ability to pay. That won’t change."
The NHS isn't as good as it needs to be: "There’s too much bureaucracy — and too much decision making is led by that bureaucracy rather than clinicians. Health inequalities are huge — and the results aren’t always as good as they should be. If we were as good in England at treating cancer as the average European country, we would save 5,000 lives a year."
What the NHS Bill will do: "Our changes mean more money to deal with rising healthcare needs and costs; a focus on the public’s health, rather than simply treating illness; greater choice and information and doctors and nurses given the budgets and the freedom to provide the best care. It will be a fair system that stops the private sector from picking off contracts and the public sector from providing an inflexible monopoly."
Today's ConHome frontpage lists the near universal view of commentators that there won't be any last minute retreat. Labour, writes Andrew Rawnsley in The Observer, is praying that the commentators are right: "Labour is certain that crashing on with this legislation will prove to be the single most disastrous act committed by the prime minister since the election."