In the spring issue of the Fabian Review, much space is dedicated to the topic of healthcare. The leading article claims its YouGov poll demonstrates that “people love the NHS for all its flaws" and that “there is still considerable support for further spending". It shows nothing of the sort. What it actually shows is that people are despondent and disappointed with the NHS.
The “considerable support" that the Fabians assert is not evident. Asked to choose between the statements: “The government should continue to increase the levels of funding, and increase taxes if necessary to pay for it" and “The NHS receives enough money and should use it better," only 38% of respondents agreed with the former statement, whereas 50% of respondents agreed with latter. Hardly a ringing endorsement.
These statistics are also slanted towards the left of the political spectrum. The respondents chosen came in equal quantity from Labour, Liberal Democrat and Conservative supporters. The local elections and the Crewe and Nantwich by-election make clear that there are far more Conservative than Labour supporters out there at the moment.
From the poll it is clear that people are still ideologically attached to the idea of healthcare free at the point of need. As such, this may be the only politically viable option for any party. However, it is still possible to unleash the power of enterprise and innovation in healthcare, and as luck would have it, we have produced a number of publications explaining just how this can be done.