How Labour trashed the NHS


I have written before on here about how the NHS is ONLY safe with the Conservatives, an article that drills down to the facts and exposes the Labour lies (click highlighted text to open article). Now lets look at how Labour trashed the NHS. Repeatedly.

Sandy Lane 650

My sister was a GP. She built up and ran one of the biggest GP practices in Britain, Sandy Lane Surgery in Preston, Lancashire. The 1980 Black Report and 1987 Whitehead Report revealed huge failings in the NHS. The Conservatives worked to rectify this with the 1990 NHS and Community Care Act whereby an internal market was introduced, which means health authorities manage their own budgets. Then in 1991 the first NHS Trusts were established to make the service more responsive to the user at a local level. My sister loved this, she said she could get far more treatment for her patients for a given amount of money and that it was starting to make the NHS a lot more efficient.

Then Labour won the 1997 General Election and an unreformed leftist dinosaur, Frank Dobson, was put in charge. He immediately got rid of the internal market, because it was against his dogma. And replaced it with nothing. Unsurprisingly the NHS became a disaster, all the metrics used to measure its performance went in the wrong direction and the newspapers were full of the inevitable horror stories. Eventually Tony Blair couldn’t stand the bad publicity, it would have cost him an election. So at the end of 1999 Dobson was moved to the political backwater of the London Mayor election, which he lost with just 13% of the vote. After which he was cast into political oblivion. His trashing of the NHS had cost Labour dear.

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NHS managers 650

Frank Dobson was replaced by Alan Milburn, who had a huge task on his hands getting the NHS working again before the election. He did this by restoring some elements of the internal market, recruiting very large numbers of managers, implementing a whole system of “targets” and throwing lots of money at trying to fix the most egregious problems. If anything he made things even worse. The whole of the NHS became an organisation whose purpose was to achieve targets (and to look after the trade unions), patient care was no longer the priority. This led, ultimately, to lots of patients being killed in trusts such as Mid Staffs and Morecambe Bay. The huge spending was one of the factors that led Gordon Brown to give up on his “golden rule”, to borrow whilst the economy was booming, and to ultimately trash the UK economy.

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You would think that these disasters would shame any government, but no. Labour continued to trash the NHS in new ways.

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nhs-gp-pay-comparison 650

Labour negotiated a new contract with GPs in 2004, when John Reid was health secretary. This was such a giveaway to GPs that they were stunned by its generosity. It took their average salary to more than £100,000 and removed their obligation to provide out of hours care. Labour just hadn’t thought it through. The population of Britain could no longer use their GPs outside of office hours, so they had to go to A&E instead. The hospitals were flooded and couldn’t cope. And the excessive money given to GPs came out of the NHS budget, which made less money available for other care and pushed up Gordon Brown’s excessive spending again.

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Then Gordon Brown discovered a great trick, he could create a big, brand new hospital without paying for it. Using something called the Private Finance Initiative (PFI). Basically this is hire purchase. So he clicked his fingers lots of times and the hospitals appeared, whether they were needed or not. The problem is that Labour are no good at all at business or economics, so they negotiated spectacularly bad deals. Laughably, pathetically bad. Look at the chart above and you can see what we are paying, up until 2048, for Brown’s idiotic profligacy. And now we have the situation where the repayments are bleeding our NHS trusts dry. Several of them have got into severe financial trouble trying to meet the PFI repayments whilst at the same time trying to afford to look after patients.

So there you have it. In 13 years Labour trashed the NHS in a major way at four least times.

  • Getting rid of the internal market and losing control of patient care.
  • Introducing targets and huge numbers of managers.
  • New GP contract removing out of hours care and costing a fortune.
  • Throwing many billions of pounds of NHS money away with the PFI.

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After this you would think that voters would never trust Labour anywhere near the NHS again. But no. In 2011 the people of Wales shot themselves in their collective feet and voted for Labour to run the Welsh Assembly. And it has been a disaster. Under the Barnett Formula there is far more government money available per person in Wales than there is in England. So the Welsh NHS should be better than the English NHS. But it isn’t. It is an utter disaster, with people dying in the ambulances that are queued up outside their hospitals. Labour really cannot be allowed anywhere near looking after the health of people.



NHS A&E. #2 650

NHS Wales 650

So why are Labour such a disaster every time they get near the NHS? Firstly they have no understanding of business or economics. And the NHS is one of the biggest businesses in the world. Secondly they are driven by political dogma, everything has to be done to suit their ideology, not to look after patients. Miliband even talks about “weaponising” the NHS as he tries to make it dogma lead. The Conservatives, on the other hand, put the patients first, before any dogma. And the results can be seen in record patient satisfaction:

NHS satisfaction 650


Conservative NHS economy 650

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  1. The Introduction of the managed market and Trusts in the 1980s has proved to be a complete disaster for the NHS and the patients it now fails to treat. We were told that these reforms were necessary to meet modern challenges and keep a lid on spiralling costs. In contrast it converted an imperfect system that worked and was inexpensive into a conglomerate of incompetence and frank corruption at HUGE expense to the Nation to the point of bankruptcy. We now have a system where conflicts of interests are rife and criminal activity in the commissioning of services are normal practice. Referrals to to appropriate regulatory bodies are ignored.

    The GMC currently is subject to a recorded crime of perverting the course of justice.

    Your postings describes the turmoil in detail but fails to recognise that this has been politically engineered in order to dismantle an NHS that historically was too successful for its own survival.

    Remember that an Engineer washes his hands before he/she goes to the lavatory; the Political Engineer believes in the Teflon Principle and has infected us all with this insanity.


  2. Actually you missed one extra mistake, during negotiating PFI’s Labour thought they were being canny by specifying tight capacity with no room for population expansion (another Labour failure! but I digress). Of course the providers are not stupid so built in severe costs for exceeding the capacity Labour were asking for.
    Now as demand has grown, trusts have to pay horrendous penalty costs to keep things going. The classic example being the £500 to change a light bulb. Of course a bulb doesn’t cost that but if Labour had not cut corners it would be done during adequate normal maintenance shift cover. But it may instead require an electrician, and a mate for safety to be asked to come in for an entire additional shift on overtime which is billable at punitive cost to the trust.
    This is what happens when you let career politicians with no real world or business experience do business negotiations.


  3. Well written and researched. I left the nhs when the acquired trusts status


  4. Interesting that patient satisfaction was extremely low during the Tory years but saw a drastic increase during New Labour, before falling again when the coalition came into power. Maybe not the best evidence for your argument.


  5. Development. In 1992 PFI was implemented for the first time in the UK by the Conservative Government led by John Major….. This article suggested that it was Gordon Brown who “discovered a great trick” called PFI… in fact it was John Major (and the Tories) who first “burdened” the NHS with this.


    1. But Dave,
      Major hardly used it.
      Brown ran amok, spending away our future like a demented man.
      Because it wasn’t even counted as government spending or national debt.
      Then when the reporting rules were changed we had a very unpleasant awakening.


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