The monthly ICM poll for the Guardian has topline figures of CON 29%(-4), LAB 41%(+3), LD 13%(-2), UKIP 9%(+3), changes are from their poll last month.

The 12 point lead is not too dissimilar from what other companies are showing, but ICM normally tend to show smaller Labour leads thanks to the reallocation of some don’t knows to the parties they voted for in 2010 (an adjustment that these days tends to help the Lib Dems and hinder Labour). The trend is the thing to watch… and the trend here shows a sharp movement towards Labour. It’s not something we have seen reflected in other polls over the last couple of days, so usual caveats apply – sure, it could be the first sign of a further swing towards Labour… or it could be normal sample error.

UPDATE: Meanwhile the weekly TNS-BMRB poll has topline figures of CON 31%(+3), LAB 41%(nc), LDEM 10%(nc), UKIP 10%(-1). No obvious sign of any big swing towards Labour there.

371 Responses to “New ICM and TNS-BMRB polls”

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  1. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO FRED !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Panic over – its only about Scotland.

  3. @Turk – “…this is about neglect leading to the deaths of hundreds of vulnerable patients by health professionals…”

    I’m probably alone in this, but I often ponder whether it’s the attempted professionalisation of nusin that has been one of the factors.

    Nursing never use to be a profession. It was a respected job for people who might not have been very good at passing exams, but cared for people’s basic needs and wanted to do something useful. Now it’s a ‘profession’ requiring a degree, a career path, and all that goes with it.

    Perhaps I’m being a bit unfair here, but we really need nurses with the basic skills and the compassion first, degrees perhaps not required.

  4. @Amber,

    Yup, it would take some quite considerable effort to prove a criminal case and I am not sure whether it’s feasible.

    It wouldn’t necessarily depend on Ms Bailey’s personal evidence however. The most likely criminal case wouldn’t involve a detailed account from one witness, but corroborative statements from a range of witnesses. If there was a specific nurse or doctor who had been negligent and aspects of this had been witnessed by a number of patients/relatives or (best of all) colleagues then a composite case could be put together

    In defence of Ms Bailey, her role was to prompt the review that led to the uncovering of pretty good evidence of substandard care.

    Anecdotally my wife, who works at two residential care homes, comes home most days telling me horror stories about the negative experiences her residents have had in hospital. It is fairly routine for them to have a resident return from a hospital stay in a parlous state. The most common complaint is about provision of water/food, which is often just left at the bedside without thought being given to the mental/physical ability of the patients to feed themselves. Culturally, there is very much a “don’t go into hospital, it’ll more likely kill you than cure you” sentiment – although that is to some extent inevitable when dealing with the elderly.

    There are similar concerns about the quality of home-care services – mostly provided by private companies – so I am not trying to make a political point or do down state run services. But I actually think Mid-Staffs is not all that unrepresentative of how things are generally.

  5. @Alec,

    I think you’re absolutely right. Nursing has been compromised by a desire to make it more “doctor-y”. There will of course be some nursing roles, such as theatre nursing and ICU nursing, that are highly technical but the bulk of the work need not be. I have a colleague who has been a DC for about 10 years but was a career nurse before that. She speaks about it in exactly the same terms as you do. I don’t think it’s all that recent – my mother was a former nursing sister and midwife, and she used to make the same complaint in the early 1990s. Perhaps a bit of “nostalgia isn’t what it used to be” but its a common thought.

    In the end, it is more important to make sure your patient drinks enough than it is to make sure their blood pressure is monitored or their tablets administered.

  6. @ Alec

    Perhaps I’m being a bit unfair here, but we really need nurses with the basic skills and the compassion first, degrees perhaps not required.
    Perhaps high functioning, intelligent, empathetic women used to have their qualifications & career choices severely restricted. Maybe these women made excellent nurses & accepted being paid only pin money. I think I speak for many women when I say: If there was such a time, then we’re not willing going back to it!

    And the scenario where there are lots of academically ‘stunted’ people who have common sense, compassion & empathy are willing to do difficult, hard work (parts of which is way above their pay grade) is the dream of almost every employer. But that’s all it is, a dream.

  7. TURK

    Thank you.



    GO only has two budgets left ( if you discount 2015 )

    He needs a couple of decent rabbits.

  9. Given the complexity of modern medicine a degree to practice nursing is the minimum requirement I would say. Nursing and medicine has moved on a bit from the Crimean war and ladies with lamps.

    I have incurable cancer. Every now and then I spend spells in hospital, the level of knowledge that nurses have of treatment and understanding of clinical practice never fails to impress me. And as a patient that’s what I want.

  10. academic

    Very sorry to hear of your condition.


  11. Thanks Paul. I have myeloma which is an incurable blood cancer, I have excellent treatment at UCLH.

    There is some excellent research going on in this area and I am hopeful for a cure in the near future. I might hang around long enough to benefit.

    I’m determined to draw my bloody pension :)

  12. Alec – yes you are being unfair but much more importantly you are being insightless re: nursing and what is needed

    we certainly need a professionalised police force

  13. Alec
    “Nursing never use to be a profession. It was a respected job for people who might not have been very good at passing exams, but cared for people’s basic needs and wanted to do something useful. Now it’s a ‘profession’ requiring a degree, a career path, and all that goes with it.

    Perhaps I’m being a bit unfair here, but we really need nurses with the basic skills and the compassion first, degrees perhaps not required.”

    I agree entirely. It is a result of the mania for degrees for everything. Somehow, sight has been lost of what’s important, in this case, the care & compassion to look after people. You can teach anybody anything and give them a piece of paper for it at the end but if the individual has no common sense and an instinct for what is right or wrong, then frankly, it is money wasted. All we end up with are over qualified numskulls.

    My wife worked in nursing homes in the 1990’s – she often became very upset at the things she saw and the way some care staff treated the elderly. She saw the fear in their eyes when certain nurses (male & female) approached them because they were rough in their handling. She loves working with the elderly. Nursing is a calling, not a profession.

    Perhaps the answer for the future is CCTV in every ward?

  14. It may be that we need two different types of nurses.

    Yes there is a need for caring people in the nursing profession. In the past 5 years, after having two tumours removed involving a two week stay in hospital followed by a large number of tests check-ups etc., I have yet to meet a medic at any level who has not been caring and considerate. However in several instances they have been performing procedures that required a much higher level of knowledge.

    I have spent the past two afternoons in our local, well renowned, Freeman hospital re new health problems.

    Yesterday I met with a nurse specialist who discussed with me the outcome of a prostate biopsy and a subsequent MRI scan. Not something th enurse of 20 – 30 years ago could have done.

    Today I had a gastroscopy for a swallowing problem. Although a doctor conducted the gastroscopy, all the preparatory work including thorough explanation of the procedure was performed by nurses. Again, the nurse of yesteryear could not have done this.

  15. Targets
    I work in a field where targets relate mainly to projects and provide the basis for performance monitoring and reporting, enabling managers at the project level to complete their project outputs and managers at the agency or departmental level, for whom the projects make up a programme, to measure and report on their performance in using resources to achieve the programme outputs. If the project manager and the agency manager, and planners, are able to report on the achievement of targets, they get their fees and promotions. If they don’t they get them anyway.
    Two problems in the system are that the targets and the means of achieving them may have been put in place by experts who may have got it wrong but aren’t around to change them, except when the time comes around for evaluation, which will be at the programme rather than the project level; and secondly that the manager is not accountable for the factors (important assumptions and risks – over on the right hand column of his logical framework or project matrix, or whatever) which may make it difficult to ensure that, whether in terms of the quality of inputs (e.g. staff capabilities) or environmental or economic constraints (e.g. water supply, waste management, markets, employment opportunity) outputs, if achieved, actually lead to outcomes: healthy communities, people in jobs and with adequate incomes, high quality products.
    A broader problem is that it is actually for the achievement of an improved or decent environment or of a strengthened or rewarding economy, that the projects and programmes are decided on, funded and staffed, but these decision and funding processes, and the essentially long-term development of skills and competences in the relevant professions, are in the hands of politicians and policy researchers or universities, not the managers. On the other hand, farmers, doctors, nurses and engineers, who are also the public, most often know what makes up a good environment and a good economy in their field, and they have a rather longer time perspective – a life-time in fact – in which to learn and experience what a good environment and a good economy consist of.
    A danger arises, it seems to me, when the politicians and policy researchers start thinking that their interests lie in thinking up and publicly pronouncing and then evaluating projects, and that it would be rather good, or at least, impressive, if they were able to put these in place and prove their success by themselves or their favourite experts deciding on targets. This proves difficult, because regional, historic and local factors in countries, environments, economies and health factors are diverse and often do not fit the project model.
    My problem with the debate over the educational, health care and care of the aged and child care as national programmes or services is that, actually the UK as a public and as a developed institutional structure, are really pretty aware of what constitutes a good and relevant educational system, or health system, or care of the aged and children. We are well educated, and have access to good documentation and debate over the policies, structures and programmes which have been developed and put in place, say over the past sixty years of relevant social and economic development. We have difficulty on the evidence in accepting that what is essentially tinkering with the comprehensive educational system or the NHS, on the basis of three year reliability in economic planning or five year tenures of parliament and less in ministerial responsibilities makes any sense. We have still less confidence that basing interventions and target setting on changing ministerial expertise or expert opinion answers the basic responsibilities which politicians and their advisers have towards us as a nation, not just as a voting electorate or as consumers of services, but as a people with some understanding of what our educational, health and care services are there for, and with expectations of performance and standards to meet their purposes. Since when, we wonder, have we needed targets or disciplinary measures to ensure that hospital patients have water, or food, or cleanliness, or that schools are educating our children to meet the needs of citizenship and employment? Or are these targets and differing health and educational structures there to remind us that we are a nation made up, to coin a phrase, of strivers, shirkers and those who know better?

  16. @Reginald,

    Out of curiosity, what exactly does a “professionalised” police force entail, and why do we “certainly” need one?

  17. ROBERT


    I really am tired of the equivocation, sophistry & evasion over these deaths.

    There is a problem-Patients & their relatives can describe it-but someone has to listen,

    There is too much arrogance in hospital doctors these days

    As for nursing-it should be a caring profession .

    Or it is nothing.

  18. Profession :-

    A profession is a vocation founded upon specialized educational training, the purpose of which is to supply objective counsel and service to others.

    Key features :-

    A full-time occupation;
    A national association of members.
    Membership dependent upon a prescribed training & qualification regime,a code of ethics, & compliance regulation of members.

  19. Paramedic for West Mids Ambulance Service posts on Facebook that he hopes Julie Bailey ” suffer a life threatening illness at night where you have to travel further than you should because your local hospital is closed ( your fault) “.

  20. Lots of professions require degrees. Architects, lawyers etc.

    Modern nursing is highly specialised requiring a great deal of detailed clinical knowledge. Having a degree doesn’t discount you from being able to also be compassionate. It’s not an either or situation.

    “It may be that we need two different types of nurses.”

    We have different types of nurses, we have highly qualified medical nurses who have clinical knowledge and we have clinical support staff who look after general well-being and comfort of patients. These people don’t have degrees but they are not qualified nurses.

    To be quite honest, given the complexity of modern medicine, and as a person who has a great deal of direct knowledge and experience of treatment in hospitals, the thought of being treated clinically by a nurse without a degree terrifies me.

    As for the tired refrain about ‘too many degrees’ I don wonder if people realise that all our direct international competitors have 50% of their kids in HE, while we still only manage 36%.

    The knowledge economy is the only game in town. Most politicians understand this including Willetts who I’ve talked to about this very topic.

  21. When I joined the police I completed a 20 week residential training course. That was later reduced to 16 weeks and the Met has now closed the residential training centre and decentralised the training. In other words, the direction of travel in police training, under governments of both complexions, has been towards less training not more.

    I am really not sure what 3 years of police training would have covered. Only a proportion of the training I received was “academic” in nature. A lot of it was practical, roleplaying scenarios (the old Met training school had a very good roleplay site with a police station, roads, traffic lights etc). We also did a lot of physical training, some public order training and of course first aid training.

    Since then I’ve had quite a few courses or varying quality. Some (Family Liaison Officer, Driving Course, Sexual Offences course) were extremely valuable. Others were a complete waste of my time. In total in my 23 years service I have probably received less “police education” than would fill a three year degree course, but I honestly don’t think that I am undertrained or unprofessional. I think the idea of a “policing degree” is nonsense and is just a catspaw for people who either don’t understand the profession or don’t care to understand it.

    Besides which, a profession with far worse pay and conditions is unlikely in my view to be “professionalised” and in fact much more likely to become a short-term, temporary job for young men who fancy a bit of excitement before finding themselves a “real job”.

    Having said that, I have no objection to the government’s new “College of Policing”, even if it just a rebadge of the existing NPIA. And if “professionalising” means standardising police training so that each force has to accept the qualifications gained by officers transferring in from other forces then that would be good. Better still would be a Police Service of England and Wales (or once each) rather than the current ramshackle mess.

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