Health policy under New Labour: not what it seems?

Ruane Sally

in Social policy review 22

Published by Policy Press

Published in print July 2010 | ISBN: 9781847427113
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447303497 | DOI:
Health policy under New Labour: not what it seems?

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This chapter suggests that health policy under ‘New Labour’ is not entirely what it seems, exploring a number of contradictions in health policy and the role of ‘spin’ in government at the same time. It asks how it is that, despite Labour's health policy being more radical than even the previous Conservative Thatcher government, there is relatively little debate around the direction of policy, even despite the British people's emotional attachment to the NHS. It suggests that Labour's presentation of their health policy has been extremely important in understanding these tensions because they have managed to present their reforms as modernisation rather than privatisation, they have been able to claim significant increases in health expenditure, which again act as a distraction from their increased use of non-public providers of healthcare, and finally, that ministers have claimed to have achieved far greater say in the NHS despite the absence of virtually any kind of accountability checks in Labour's reforms.

Keywords: New Labour; health policy; spin; Conservative Thatcher government; NHS; modernisation; privatisation; Labour's reforms

Chapter.  7917 words. 

Subjects: Social Research and Statistics

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