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To what extent and why do New Labours proposals for the NHS differ from those of the previous New Right Conservative Government?

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Introduction

To what extent and why do New Labours proposals for the NHS differ from those of the previous New Right Conservative Government? The creation of the NHS saw the state take on an interventionalist role providing healthcare which was fully comprehensive, universally free for all at the point of use and funded through national insurance and general taxation (Walsh et al, 2000). After a period of consensus, successive governments have scrutinised the sector leading to its attempted reforms but it is argued that there is considerable continuity between governments regardless of the party in power (Baggot, 2007). This essay will consider the proposals made by New Right and New Labour for the NHS, looking first at what influenced each party's proposals. The key area's the essay will focus upon are the internal market, GP fund holding, Primary Care Groups (PCG's) and preventative health to allow the interpretation of the extent to which New Labours proposals differ from those of the previous New Right Conservative Government. When Thatcher began her first administration, the NHS was not meeting public expectations and problems with resources and funding were becoming increasingly apparent, with furious rows erupting over the issues between politicians and the medical profession (Leathard, 1990). Thatcher considered a move to private health insurance which never materialised as it was widely rejected by her peers. ...read more.

Middle

It is argued that although there is an acknowledgement of relationships between health inequalities, finding the solution to them has been and still is very challenging (Bochel et al, 2005). New Labour has also been highly criticized for the huge contradiction of their unwillingness to tackle the alcohol and tobacco industry (Renade, 1997). New Labour had made clear the intention to abolish the internal market before they came into office. Their major criticisms of the internal market were: competition was too fierce, best practice not shared as well as perverse incentives driving staff (Klein, 1995). It is argued by that in reality the internal market had none of the features of a retail market and that 'the NHS executive drew lines of regulation and monitoring so tightly that no real competition could emerge...it seemed that the government had built a system which was paying for the costs of competition, fragmentation and perverse incentives- yet were getting none of the benefits' (Illiffe and Munroe, 2000: 315). The proposals made by Blair and Thatcher for the NHS differ immensely in terms of ideology but it is argued that although Labour emphatically criticise Conservative policies, they still build on them to a large extent (Klein, 1998). New Labour heavily opposed the internal market, yet the purchaser provider split remained in tact. Powell (1998) ...read more.

Conclusion

New Labour build on New Right proposals to a large extent but it doesn't seem that they are 'stealing' policies, just having to take what is there and make it better and with no new idea's is clearly evolutionary. In effect, New Labour seems to be reforming the reforms made by New Right. Reference List Baggot, R (2007) Understanding Health Policy. Bristol: The Policy Press Botchell, H., Bochel, C., Page, R., Sykes, R (2005) Social Policy: Issues and Developments. Essex: Pearson Education Ltd Blair (1997) New Labour because Britain deserves better (online) available at: http://labour-party.org.uk/manifestos/1997/1997-labour-manifesto.shtml Iliffe, S, Munro, J (2000) New Labour and Britain's National Health Service: an overview of current reforms. International Journal of Health Services (30) 2 pp309-334 Klein, R (1998) Why Britain is reorganising its National Health Service - Yet Again. Health Affairs (17) 4 Klein, R (1995) The New Politics of the NHS. Third Edition. Essex: Longman Group Ltd Leathard, A (1990) Health Care Provision: Past, Present and Future. London: Chapman and Hall Lund, B (2008) Major, Blair and the Third Way in Social Policy. Social Policy and Administration (42) 1 p43-58 Powell, M (1999) New Labour and the Third way in the British National Health Service. International Journal of Health Services [29] 2 pp 353-370 Renade, W (1997) A Future for the NHS? Health care for the Millennium. Essex: Addison Wesley Longman Limited Walsh, M., Stephens, P., Moore, S (2000) Social Policy & Welfare. Cheltenham: Nelson Thornes Ltd ?? ?? ?? ?? Student Number @00211029 - 1 - ...read more.

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