Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Patients First...

Writing in the New Statesman blog, Rafael Behr admits the real truth surrounding Labour's unprincipled opposition to the Coalition's NHS reforms in one sentence - Another way of putting this might be that market forces are tolerable when Labour allows them to operate in a carefully controlled environment, but destructive and corrosive when unleashed by Tories and Lib Dems. That sentence sums up the opposition. Its not about patients. Its not even about policy. Just visceral hatred of anything proposed by the Conservatives. But the real shame - and no doubt Ed Miliband calculates these things to carefully advantage his union paymasters - is that once again, Labour is on the side of vested interests, against the interests of patients for whom the health service should be run.

I can understand why professional trade unions like the BMA and the royal colleges will always resist change believing, quite wrongly, that they alone know how a health service should be run. They fought every reform through Blair's New Labour years, as well as the original creation of the NHS back in 1947.

But a political party which claims to represent the people? Surely not. Labour is now the only major party clinging desperately to the past. Preferring instead to support the bureaucratic processes and vested interests who want no reform. It is deeply shameful of Ed Miliband - the most left wing leader since Michael Foot - to deny ordinary people a National Health Service driven by patients - their needs, their choices, their health.