Blair faces NHS critics1st May 2007
Prime Minister Tony Blair called for "a sense of balance" when he met NHS staff at the King’s Fund health committee.
The Labour government has tripled the health service budget since they came to power.
While Mr Blair has seen waiting lists reduce and new hospitals constructed, he is currently faced with the threat of industrial action by nurses’ unions and the loss of 17,000 jobs in NHS trusts over the past year.
On 30 April, Mr Blair heard speeches from senior NHS officials, many of whom commended the government’s investment in the health service and reductions in waiting lists. He also heard some sharp criticism.
Peter Carter, general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing said that although in his 38-year career he had never seen so much money invested, he had also "never seen so much money wasted".
"It is a tragedy for the public, for the NHS and for the government."
Jim Johnson, chairman of the British Medical Association described doctors’ anger and frustration. He criticised the ‘payment by results’ system and described the involvement of the private sector as unpopular.
Mr Blair asserted: "Just as the private sector has moved to a more customised service, so public services as a whole will move in the same direction."
During a press briefing after the address, he condemned the media’s "negativity" and mentioned they often used particular quotes to portray a particular impression of the NHS.
Mr Blair added that an accurate assessment of NHS reforms could only be made retrospectively.
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