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Will Gordon Brown stop NHS reforms?

27th November 2007

In the BBC's The Politics Show, screened on 25 November, David Thompson asks if Gordon Brown plans not to carry on Tony Blair's NHS reforms and if so, how will it affect the service?

future of nhsQ

The Prime Minister is certainly down on his luck at present, if this week is anything to go by, and signs are pointing to new difficulties lying in wait for him.

Some hardcore Blair supporters - including activists and members of parliament - are grumbling, although usually not on record. One might surmise that they are biding their time until Gordon Brown is at his lowest ebb before they lay into him.

Alan Johnson, the Health Secretary, said recently that the government had decided to scale back the expansion of the use of the private sector for operations and scans.

The reasons he gave were because some projects were not needed anymore to combat waiting list times or they did not "represent value for money".

Some of those in the private sector - and some Blair supporters - perceived the announcement in a different light. They saw it as a backwards step from the previous Prime Minister's reforms related to the future of the NHS.

Lord Warner, who was previously tasked with the reform of the health service by Mr Blair, said to the Politics Show that he was worried about this new move.

"I think many people...have been concerned there has been a change of direction; people do feel the foot has been taken off the accelerator." he said.

Blairite Lord Giddens was even more explicit: "What we don't want, or what I don't want anyway, is a kind of second-rate Blairism, Blairism with the edges removed."

Ben Bradshaw, the Health Minister, told the show that the government had not changed its policy.


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