We could have several polls tonight, given most of last month’s polls ended up being conducted over the same weekend. The first one out is ICM’s monthly poll for the Guardian. Last month’s Guardian poll had shown a Tory lead of five points, this month it slips back to a rather more typical figure – CON 36%(-4), LAB 37%(+2), LDEM 14%(-2), Others 13%(+4). Certainly that others figures looks like something of a reversion to the mean – 9% really was unusually low.

There is also an interesting question on trust in the NHS, repeated from 2006 early in David Cameron’s leadership. Back then 14% said they trusted the Tories a lot on the NHS, 47% trusted them a little and 31% didn’t trust them at all. The figures now at 13% who trust the Tories a lot (down 1), 42% who trust them a little (down 5), 40% do not trust them at all (up 9). This suggests a drop in the proportion of people who trust the Tories a little on the NHS, though the hardcore of people who trusted them a lot was minimal to begin with.

On the same question for Labour 23% trust them a lot(up 4), 46% trust them a little (up 2), 25% do not trust them at all (down 7).

We’ve certainly got the daily YouGov poll for the Sun to come tonight, I don’t know if Populus and Ipsos MORI’s monthly polls will also turn up today or tomorrow, or whether they’ll be done next weekend.

UPDATE: The monthly Populus poll for the Times has now been released, topline figures are CON 37%(nc), LAB 39%(+1), LDEM 11%(-2). Putting aside the usual variation we get between different companies Liberal Democrat scores we are actually getting quite a consistent picture on the Con vs Lab horse race – YouGov’s daily polls have been averaging a Labour lead of about 1.5 points, ICM tonight are showing a 1 point Labour lead and the Populus are showing a 2 point Labour lead.

UPDATE2: And finally (assuming MORI don’t pop out of the woodwork), the Sun politics team have tweeted the YouGov figures for tonight. Topline figures are CON 39%, LAB 38%, LDEM 10%, so while the lead is bouncing back and forth (much as we’d expect from normal variation within the margin of error), it’s still very much in line with YouGov’s average position of a small Labour lead (and the 7 point figure for the Lib Dems yesterday does appear to have been an outlier).


130 Responses to “New ICM, Populus and YouGov polls”

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  1. Also though an NHS Trust will be allowed to provide 49% of its services to the private sector, I think it says somewhere in the reforms (anyone here read them in full?) that this is only if their is no demand for those services by the NHS or some waiting list requirement, didn’t really understand it. Also by doing private opps, hospital has added revenue to hire doctors, cleaners, new equipment etc. You would be a strange CEO of a Trust if you were to go up to 49% because of the backlash from the local population-pensioners picketing scares everyone.

  2. KEN

    This monster provides health service at approximately 8% of GDP compared to 15% in the U.S

  3. @ Colin

    However if waiting list double, whilst the car parks are closed to anything smaller than a Rolls Royce, then DC will obviously not be PM for very long & Labour can implement their plan for funding the NHS.
    ———————————
    I think Labour have a duty to oppose before things get to that stage, Colin, despite what the man from the Telegraph wrote.
    8-)

  4. SMUKESH………You’re comparing apples with pears. :-)

  5. @Ken

    I predict that the more Conservative commentators refer to the NHS as a ‘Overgrown Monster’, the more protective people will get about it. Even those in this country who have ‘small government’ ideals most of the time, would mostly pale at the thought of ‘shrinking’ the NHS.

  6. @Colin – “Labour can implement their plan for funding the NHS.”

    Looking at debate on the web – that is one scenario that is being discussed.

    Various contingency plans in the various tiers of the organisation for how to cope if the bill is passed… or if the bill is passed with significant sections dropped.

    Consensus is that there will now need to be another major reorganisation within five years.

    I notice the Telegraph blogger you cite quotes Alan Milburn as the clincher to his argument… forgetting perhaps that Milburn consulted widely before attempting reform, and he has slammed Lansley’s bill as a recipe for chaos, more bureaucracy and increased costs.

    The only firm advice coming to down GP’s from their professional bodies is to secure the services of an expert lawyer.

  7. BBC also reports that a Conservative MP has apologised after failing to declare he is paid 50 K per year by a private healthcare firm when he spoke in the debates on NHS reform…I wonder how many MP`s are being paid as advisers by private healthcare companies

  8. JAYBLANC…………It’s frustrating to know that a vast amount of money is being wasted every hour of the day on an organisation that is structually dysfunctional and yet so necessary. The horrible reality is, that it will grow and grow, and the flaws will grow with it, imagine a bigger colander, bigger holes. It needs root and branch reform, and the public needs to know that it doesn’t exist to service whims.

  9. @Ken (11.33)

    “Too many users are taking advantage of the institutional incompetence and the laissez faire of the 5th biggest employer in the world, how on earth did we allow this monster to grow ?”

    Ken,
    have you ever been ill? People don’t go to the docs or to hospital for the sake of it, they go because they are ill. In fact a major problem is that many (particularly men) don’t go to the docs until it is too late. I can’t think of any reason why anyone would wish to undergo tests, receive medication etc without good reason. As one who has had cancerous growths removed from the bowel and kidney in the past 4 years I feel qualified to make this point and to speak in favour of the NHS. Yes it needs reforms, but not the reforms proposed by Lansley.

  10. @KEN

    “The horrible reality is, that it will grow and grow, and the flaws will grow with it, imagine a bigger colander, bigger holes.”

    I would have thought ‘bigger colander, more holes’ would be a more appropriate analogy?

    If the colander is badly designed or isn’t maintained, bigger holes. :)

  11. Smukesh

    If you read the story he did properly declare his interests in the register of members interests, although failed to redeclare them verbally at the start of the debate and has since, accordingly apologised as a point of order.

    Of course, presenting the full story wouldn’t have served your purposes of trying to do a bit of partisan point scoring would it?

  12. @Ken

    See, you say those things as if they are given whole truths.

    But studies after studies have shown that the NHS is one of the most efficient health care systems in the world. Pritchard & Wallace’s “Comparing the USA, UK and 17 Western countries’ efficiency and effectiveness in reducing mortality” showed that we were in the top two. (Ireland coming in first, but with the huge caveat that Ireland spends less but benefits with ties to the NI NHS.)

  13. @Colin (11.01)

    “Don’t you realise how much of the NHS capability is provided by private sector companies already?

    What sort of healthcare would we have now if all drugs were developed & produced by THe State Pharmaceutical Company?

    Where is all the technological innovation in treatment coming from?-The MInistry of Medical Equipment ?”

    Colin,
    This is a red herring. no-one is questioning drug production or medical equipment. What those of us against the bill are questioning is :

    – the huge bill relating to reorganisation of the NHS
    – long term increase in cost of administration despite Lansleys claims to the contrary.
    – competition between various health agencies rather than the co-operation which is necessary.
    – privatisation of the health service. As amber has stated , 49% potentially opened to fee paying patients. Even right wing Tories must see that this means much less availability
    for those of us who can’t afford to go private. Perhaps the truth is that they don’t care!!

  14. PETER BELL……….I’m sorry to hear of your health problems, and indeed, hope you are now well. But my experience of the NHS, not as a patient, but as an observer at a number of hospitals, is that the system is abused, mainly by people who abuse themselves, smokers, gluttons, drug abusers, drunks, and assorted sociopaths………I have watched groups of patients, hooked up to mobile contraptions, smoking, outside Guys/St Thomas’s, and don’t get me started on, health tourists’. The problem is, that no one seems to know the value of money, ‘ a million here, a billion there, soon you’ll be talking real money’ used to be a joke, but since Gordon, a billion isn’t a lot of money, it’s a statistic. Anyway, I wish you good health in the future. :-)

  15. @Colin

    What sort of healthcare would we have now if all drugs were developed & produced by THe State Pharmaceutical Company?
    —————————-
    There’s a rather good article in the Independent today saying we made need to do that for antibiotics. Pharma companies are not investing in researching new types of antibiotics but bacteria (particularly e-coli strains) are becoming increasing resistant to existing antibiotics.

    States may have to fund the research needed to develop new antibiotics because private companies aren’t interested.
    8-)

  16. YG still neck and neck- as is ICM if you add this and last months together.

    It looks like the Tories have retained about half their boost from Camerons summit walk out and Labour have clawed the other half back.

    Oh and the Lib Dems continue to perform abysmally across all pollsters.

  17. JAYBLANC………..The analysis of various national health systems is a quagmire of conflicting statistics….for instance, your example of US/UK ……you’re quite right, the US does spend 16% of GDP against UK 8.4%. However, public spending on healthcare ( % of total spending on healthcare ) the US spends 45% and the UK 82%. ( Source: WHO/OECD health data 2009 ). I’m sure we can back up our arguments to suit our beliefs, but the problem remains, the money isn’t there, we have to borrow it.
    STATGEEK……….Quite. :-)

  18. @ Ken (12.32)

    Thanks for the good wishes – as far as I can tell everything is OK but my regular 6 month visit to urology and colorectal clinics tomorrow should hopefully give more reassurance.

    Re your comments about smokers, gluttons etc. IMO this is a totally different problem. In a civilised society you can’t refuse these people treatment but I certainly agree that action should be taken to try to prevent these conditions in the first place. However this would cost even more money in terms of education, preventative procedures, eradication of drugs/provision of drugs on a legal but controlled basis etc.

  19. As other have pointed out the idea that the NHS is intrinsically inefficient is an example of what is often called the “big lie-” one that is repeated so often that it attains the status of unassailable fact.

    In fact the NHS and other free at the point of use services are more efficient than any other services, ruthlessly so in fact. This, if anything, is the problem, insufficient funding because politicians view any spare capacity or expenditure in the same way that an anorexic views fat, even though both are essential for the functioning of a system. Even social insurance systems like the continental ones spend more on administration and profit and all marketisation initiatives in the NHS have created more costs, blunting the impact of extra investment without improving outcomes. All developed health care systems are facing problems of cost containment. This is because of technological advances and the fact that the end goal of healthcare, i.e. limitless life and health is a goal forever out of each. The NHS actually does better at this than most other systems.

    Ken’s implication that future healthcare costs in some way act as a driver of individual choices and risk taking, simply does not play out in reality. What has been shown time and again is that more equal (e.g. continental and Scandinavian) societies have better public health than more market driven ones (such as the US). Also the distinction he draws between public and private expenditure is meaningless. The cost of modern healthcare is so astronomical and the need for it so unevenly spread throughout the population that only the very wealthiest of individuals can hope to pay for even a small fraction of it out of pocket. Costs are therefore spread throughout the population, either by tax or insurance, and the effect on the public pocket of both, is the same.

  20. United Kingdom (United States)

    8.2 (15.3) %GDP

    87.3/12.7 (45.8/ 54.2) public/private spend ratio

    2,815 (6,719) total per capita dollars spend.

    80 (78) life expectancy.

    So, US is still spending 3,077 dollars per head on public health provision (UK 2,458 dollars).

  21. Looking at tonight’s YG poll, it looks more like the previous poll was an outlier after all. Also starting to see more data since the week of low samples in London, and the graphs are equalizing a little. I must take a quick look at only the samples which were above the average versus those below. One wonders if the trends are really that bad on the small samples, or if we look for bad trends in small samples and good trends in large samples (when in truth all the samples are too small to take a single poll as significant).

    @BILLY BOB

    “So, US is still spending 3,077 dollars per head on public health provision (UK 2,458 dollars).”

    Was always told eveything in the US is bigger. Bigger heads means for more cost per head, surely?

    /runs before Socal appears :D

  22. I’m convinced that the latest revised ComRes calculations for the IoS/Sunday Mirror poll are either (a) wrong, producing a different headline figure or (b) subject to a major undeclared methodological change compared to the calculations in the equivalent January and December polls. Here’s why.

    If you look at the Jan and December polls, it is possible to take the data in ComRes Q2 on Page 5 and apply weightings according to likelihood to vote to come up with the exact final poll tallies they use for headlines in Q3/4/5 on Page 19. In the February tables, it isn’t.

    To take the example of the February poll, using the Labour column on Page 5, the calculation weighted by turnout values should be
    387 x 1 + 72 X 0.9 + 77 X 0.8 + 33 X 0.7 + 12 X 0.6 + 19 X 0.5 = 553.2 = 553 (rounded)

    But instead of the expected Labour figure of 553 on Page 19, you instead find that a figure of 484 is used in calculating the % Labour share. And instead of the expected Con figure of 537, you find that 491 is used for the % Con share. Note that Lab would be expected to be 16 ahead but are shown by ComRes as 7 behind, hence the 1% reported Con lead in the press release.

    But apply the same method to the January poll and you find that the exact figures of Lab 554 and Con 565 used on Page 19 CAN be derived exactly from Page 5. Likewise for December.So something’s wrong or the method’s changed radically in February.

    Applying ComRes’s previous methodology to their Feb data on Page 5, you will get the following after rounding, for use as headline figures:
    Con 537
    Lab 553
    LD 139
    UKIP 93
    Green 54
    SNP 43
    BNP 23
    Other 12
    Total 1454

    Percentage shares are
    Con 37%
    Lab 38%
    LD 10%
    Others 15%

    OK, it’s only the reversal of an apparent 1% Con lead. But the ComRes poll has already generated quite a few media reports along the lines of “Labour loses lead for first time in a year”. So I suggest that the discrepancy’s significant and an explanation is due from ComRes.

  23. Phil

    Fascinating. That’s why I like this site!

  24. Goodness. It’s been about a year since I was last on here and it’s neck and neck still between the Conservative Party and Labour. I think the reason for this is obvious – Ed Miliband simply does not resonate with the voters. I can see this remaining more or less where it is for another 18 months before the economy starts to turn around. I think the Conservatives will then start to build a lead of around 8% by the time of the next election and that will be enough to give them a majority by themselves. The only thing that will act as a game changer for Labour is if they change leader and bring in David Miliband. But I can’t see that happening before the next election.

  25. @ Billy Bob

    “8.2 (15.3) %GDP

    87.3/12.7 (45.8/ 54.2) public/private spend ratio

    2,815 (6,719) total per capita dollars spend.

    80 (78) life expectancy.

    So, US is still spending 3,077 dollars per head on public health provision (UK 2,458 dollars).”

    This is why Obamacare had to be enacted. The rising healthcare costs are a drag on the economy and not advancing the public health. The high costs too are not going to increasing doctor or nursing salaries and not going to increased patient care either (which I think was the case with increased NHS spending under Blair and Brown). Obamacare’s changes are going to slowly but surely change the system and hopefully for the better. There’s a lot we can learn from your system (both what to emulate and what we desire as well as what we want to avoid…..Obamacare does that and I think it strikes a good balance).

  26. @ Statgeek

    “/runs before Socal appears ”

    Lol. (I don’t bite!) I don’t know whether Billy Bob has the exact figures right but I’m pretty sure he’s correct in terms of our healthcare costs being amongst the highest.

    Admittedly, my natural area of expertise (though I’m learning quite a bit….now having been subject to being denied healthcare coverage for “pre-existing conditions”).

    One thing that drives up our cost of public healthcare (when we don’t have a national health service) is that we have people who essentially rely on emergency room care. They go to the emergency room for conditions that would likely have been preventable had they had regular medical care and are more expensive to treat (think things like a bacterial skin infection) and then people who use the emergency room for regular care when they get sick.

    The public cost is also amplified though by the fact that devastating illnesses can lead people into economic ruin and bankruptcy. The cost of treating illnesses like cancer for example is prohibitively expensive and if you don’t have insurance, you might lose everything trying to pay for treatment (also, a lot of insurance companies will drop you if you develop a terminal cancer and they will obviously deny you coverage if you have a terminal disease). You’re allowed to get social security (I learned this from a friend who works in this industry) if you have less than 6 months to live (or 12 months to live or something like that) and that becomes a neccessity for people looking for treatments. That helps drain resources too.

    Then you have public spending that results from the lack of healthcare (I gave an example to Old Nat a while back about the schizophrenic depressed teenager who’s immigrant mom couldn’t afford his medication and committed suicide) though I’m not sure that’s factored into the cost overall.

  27. Ken @ 9.08pm said.. “…it’s just a shame that change is always painful.”

    True. And the quicker DC abandons the NHS reforms the less pain he will suffer.

  28. I still think that early March will be the decider of the NHS bill, at the LibDem spring conference.
    Polls show LibDem voters/members are against the NHS reforms and they’ve obtained enough member signatures to put it to a vote at the conference, even if the leadership try to block the vote.
    So if LD members vote against the reforms, then blocking the reforms becomes official LD policy.. which puts Clegg in a very awkward position.

    But it would give Cameron an excuse to drop the bill without it being a u-turn, he blames the LibDems and the LibDems can claim victory to supporters it lost to Labour. Win-Win, surely?
    Then Cameron can enact the reforms in his second term, if he wins in 2015.

  29. Phil – That Com Res guy likes to go on Telly but I don’t he will now asmay be too embarrassed.
    Best route may be a latter, email to IoS asking for clarification/explanation.

  30. @TingedFringe

    Yup I think that kind of exit for the Bill is more likely than a straight U-Turn.

  31. @BooBoo

    “Notice the Guardian are going with ICM on there front page. They really are desperate. And it’s a shame – because no one beside their small readers will even read it!”

    I’m sorry to disappoint you, and don’t forget either all the readers who look at the paywall-free Guardian on-line, but the Radio 4 Today programme (7 million listeners) gave the ICM poll quite an airing this morning by dint of it being a headline story in the Guardian. That’s quite a lot of people who now know that Labour have turned round a 5% Tory lead inside a month and that Cameron is taking serious political flak on his NHS reforms.

    You mustn’t mislead/console yourself with mere circulation figures in terms of calculating how widely publicised a political story may become. PMQs are another case in point. According to BARB’s viewing figure estimates, something like 28,000 people watch PMQs live on the Parliament Channel every week, but upwards of 6 million people watch the evening news bulletins on BBC and ITV. All they see are the brief and highly selective excerpts and clips and these are quite often unrepresentative of the parliamentary exchanges that have taken place that day. Accordingly, if you are one of 28,000 political junkies watching it live and salivating over another masterful Cameron performance, you may well then be very disappointed to see the one good quip Miliband made getting quite an airing on the Six O’Clock news bulletins later in the day and Cameron’s bon mots sometimes ignored. This can sometimes play the opposite way, but you get my gist.

    Talking of the Today programme this morning, did anybody else catch the Stephen Twigg interview? He’s the Shadow Education spokesman and was talking about his proposal to create an educational equivalent of the Office for Budget Responsibility so that education policy could be informed by impartial and objective evidence rather than selective data that is bent to serve a particular argument. Sounds an interesting idea and he sounds an interesting politician in the making. One to watch, perhaps?

  32. Interesting comments re the LDs, DC and the NHS reforms.

    At first glance Tingedfringe’s suggestion of an exit sfor DC from this growing furore/dilemma s eems plausible.

    But surely DC has invested far too much of his own personal support in these reforms?

    This is crisis for the government and especially for DC who has created the crisis by his actions.

    For me, this is a LOSE/LOSE situation which could and should have been avoided. Whatever the outcome DC is IMO damaged.

    As I have posted before, I think DC wants to secure his palce in Tory history and be the Tory PM who got rid of that cornerstone of socialism – the NHS. He will not IMO give up this dream.

  33. James W.
    You may or may not be right about EM but replacing him with DM would not work, he is tarnsihed inside the Labour Party and I think not particularly popular with voters.
    I agree with you about the cons winning most votes in 2015 but am less certain about an 8% lead. It will be close between them getting an OM and another hung parliament.
    As you haven’t visited for a while i will repeat my view that if Lab manage to close the gap to 5% or less thay will have done well considering the Electoral mountain they have to climb.

  34. Re ICM and Today.
    Regardless of the reach and the fact that Today are portraying as a 3% swing, NHS etc which favours my party I find it annoying.
    We all know that there has probably been a 1% or so swing Con-Lab since the last ICM poll but moe, sample variation etc is suggesting more.
    Just as the 1% Coms Res poll was raised by right wing media commentators the use of one poll in islolation is frustrating.
    As Anthony has said ‘poll shows no little or change’ isn’t a very eye-catching headline so only ‘interesting polls get extra coverage even if they are unreliable on their own.
    At least at GE time one rogue or extreme moe poll will normally be drowned out by plennty of others and averaged out by the ‘poll of polls’ (which have their won issues of course)

  35. ICM is always my yardstick so I was a little surprised at last months result.

    I’m as sure as I can be that the result of the next GE won’t be much different from those figures.

  36. “I’m as sure as I can be that the result of the next GE won’t be much different from those figures.”

    I agree, sort of. I still don’t believe that next election the incumbent Tories can increase their 2010 total by 4% or more to win a majority. Labour’s gonn need 40% plus though to win though.

    Around 38-39% for both parties looks a good bet…and the only game changers are likely to be pro Lab. Even Thatcher didn’t improve her vote share as an incumbent in the 80s. Nor did Blair in the noughties.

    It’s all in Labour’s hands. I think they need to take a leaf out of Salmond’s book and go for progressive policies.

  37. PETER BELL

    @”the huge bill relating to reorganisation of the NHS”

    A one off cost of any reorganisation is justified -or not-by the length of time needed to recoup it in annual savings. Quoting the cost of change in isolation is meaningless.

    @”- long term increase in cost of administration despite Lansleys claims to the contrary.”

    Evidence that AL is wrong ?

    @”- competition between various health agencies rather than the co-operation which is necessary.”

    IAL & DC have both emphasised the role of local CCGs in intergrating healthcare for an area more closely-bringing all agencies together in order to ease the burden on hospitals of conditions which can be treated / managed in the community.

    @”- privatisation of the health service. As amber has stated , 49% potentially opened to fee paying patients.”

    I agree that this is an area of concern.

    If DC/AL really “don’t care” ( as you put it) that a half of existing NHS capacity will no longer have NHS patients as a priority, then of course they will pay the price politically, as will the Conservative Party.
    I happen to believe that they both “care”-and neither intends the outcome you predict.

  38. Doesn’t the 49% figure refer to proportion of income rather then number of beds?

    Surely ‘paying customers’ will expect a higher standard of service, so will private cases take up more than 49% of staff time?

    And what % of Consultants’ time will be devoted to private patients compared to NHS patients?

  39. Public Finances-January 2012.

    £ bn This Year / ( Last Year )

    January Surplus £ 7.75bn ( £ 5.20 bn )
    10 months to January Deficit £ 93.45 bn ( £ 109.1 bn)

    Last OBR forecast 2011/12 Deficit £ 127 bn ( £ 137bn )

  40. OZWALD

    @”Doesn’t the 49% figure refer to proportion of income rather then number of beds?”

    Precisely.

    And it is a maximum.

    And it must not compromise NHS patient care.

  41. @Colin
    I accept your point about 49% being a maximum but my questions remain – about the share of staff time and resources required to generate the 49%, given that private patients will surely expect higher standards.

  42. @Jim Jam – “… he is tarnsihed inside the Labour Party and I think not particularly popular with voters.”

    I think the polling evidence such as it is, flatly contradicts that assertion.

    I doubt David would now want to campaign for the leadership if it became vacant. Miliband followed by Miliband is probably no more realistic or accepable a prospect (that is why Ed decided to stand in the first place) than the Miliband/Miliband opposition leader/shadow chancellor duo (which Ed envisioned) would be.

  43. Nick,before the last general election the tories were heading for a small but workable majority until cleggmania swept onto the scene.We just really do not
    know what will happen by 2015.

  44. OZWALD

    I don’t know-but does it necessarily mean more private patients-could it not mean research income from pharma companies?

    And presumably Hospitals can increase private sector income streams by adding private sector capacity , without compromising existing NHS capacity?

    Nevertheless it would be silly to ignore the concerns in this area.

    It is for DC/AL to allay them.

  45. @Colin
    I think that all your points are valid. There are many imponderables. The cynical side of me has no faith in performance statistics no matter which party is in power. Generalised sentiments about NHS standards not being compromised have even less value IMO and belong on a nail in my smallest room.
    (smiley thingy here, how do you do them?)

  46. @Ozwald

    “:)” = :) Leave a space each side and lose the inverted commas. ;)

  47. BillyBob,
    Polls asking if lab had different leader and giving scores for DM that are higher are pretty much meaningless as anthony has covered before on a few occassions.

  48. If you see a smiley you like, copy and paste it into your comments box, and it will appear in text form.

    @Jim Jam

    I did say “polling evidence such as it is”: no evidence that DM is “tarnished” and unpopular as you assert.

  49. @BillyBob
    many thanks for the tips :)

  50. Re the NHS reforms, I am slightly in favour of these, even though I don’t share the politics of AL/DC.

    The problem for AL/DC is that they want the private sector to have more access to NHS patients, on the basis of delivering better outcomes for them. The NHS bill has been amended to state that this must be on a quality basis and not on cost. When I say problem, I mean that people generally don’t like to feel that they are a commodity that is being used to generate revenues. This probably already happens within the NHS where the cost of treatment is more than the labour/materials etc being used. But as this cost is hidden and come out of NHS budgets, nothing is seen as wrong. When private companies get involved and they start making profits from NHS patients which are then published in annual accounts, this will be seen as wrong. This will be particularly the case, if local NHS hospitals are having to make cuts, because they have lost work to private companies.

    Labour increasing involved private companies in providing services to NHS patients, but I think this was to get the waiting times down. I think they realised that if there was too much private company involvement in the NHS, that the existing NHS may suffer. This is the fear that I have, where local NHS budgets come under pressure as they lose work to private companies. We could then start to see arguments about the closure of NHS facilities or these carrying debts, as they struggle to compete.

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