Will NHS chaos be an election issue for Cameron?

Will NHS chaos be an election issue for Cameron?

Henry G Manson on the health changes

In a speech to the Royal College of Nurses GPs in 2008 David Cameron won applause for his election pledge against “pointless top-down reorganisation that aim for change but just bring chaos.”

Yet ‘chaos’ is surely a considerable risk now. The biggest restructuring of the NHS since it was created, contradictions running throughout the revised Health and Social Care Bill alongside £20 billion of efficiency saving targets. Oh and let’s not forget the real threat of industrial action in the NHS over pensions if the Nursing Times is to be believed.

A number of Conservative-supporting friends are clinicians. In the course of the last week I’ve made a point of speaking with them about what they understand will be the impact of the Governments’ revised health plans. They never shied away from telling me where Labour was getting it wrong. But their attitude was different this time. Among the four, three of them used the word “chaos” or “chaotic” unprompted. The other simply described it was “mad” and that we will be looking forward to his forthcoming retirement as a result.

I’ve never worked in the public sector, but what I do know is that with any dramatic organisational overhaul in the private sector there are inevitably are huge teething troubles even when staff are fully on board. That is still not the case within the NHS.

My sense now is that it will not be ‘privatisation’ in the health service that will alarm voters in 2015, but instead a general sense of ‘chaos’. Given his pre-election pledges, Cameron’s health bill risks making the implementation of his health plans a real election issue.

HenryG Manson @henrygmanson

Comments are closed.