The public still want the NHS. Dr Grumble is convinced of that. The government does not. Dr Grumble is convinced of that too. But the policy is not explicit. It is not explicit because the government does not want the public to know that the NHS is not safe in their hands. That's because the government knows what the public wants. If the government knows what the public wants why doesn't the government do what the public wants? That's democracy. Instead the government is taking the alternative line of trying to persuade the public that they do not want the NHS in its present form. There are all sorts of ploys to try and achieve this. They range from talk of choice and heightening public concern about hospital infections to bad mouthing doctors and and encouraging patients to have a go at us. If you can persuade people to buy water at great expense you can persuade them of most things. But Dr Grumble is not so sure you can turn them against the NHS or their GP. We shall see.
We all know that Gordon Brown is in trouble. We all know that he has been responsible or at the very least complicit in some of the most damaging NHS policies. So why doesn't he change his policies. That is very much what Dr G was hoping for when his misguided predecessor left office. It took some time but the public did eventual rumble the hapless Blair. Surely such disenchantment should have been followed by a change in policy and not just a herd of GOATS?
Now that the Prime Minister is reading this blog on NHS247 it may be appropriate to reproduce this letter which he may have missed when it appeared in the Guardian:
Change policy not leader
So the government is taking a beating and "the most talked about solution is changing the leader". Have politicians become so out of touch and cynical that they have forgotten it might be their policies that voters are rejecting?
Earlier this month I was at a packed meeting in Edinburgh where Nicola Sturgeon, Scottish health secretary, told the largely medical audience that there would be no place for the commercial sector in providing primary care in Scotland. She received a long and heartfelt standing ovation.
The government could win back a million-plus healthcare voters in England by reversing their deeply unpopular policy of farming the NHS out to commercial companies.
It's the policies, stupid!
Dr Jacky Davis
Co-chair NHS Consultants Association
As Nye said the NHS will last as long as there are folk left with the faith to fight for it. As he anticipated it will not just stay there for ever. It will have to be fought for because there are powerful influences out there that want to see the end of it.