Hazel Blears

Red Pepper / Keep Our NHS Public survey of Labour deputy leadership candidates views on the NHS

June 16, 2007
3 min read

1. The government has put massive investment into the NHS, yet polls suggest the Tories are now more trusted to run it. What would be the first three steps that you would like to see to improve the NHS?

  • Hit the 18-week waiting time target, to prove the reforms have worked.
  • Rebuild the trust of the NHS staff, so the 1.4 million workers are supporters of the Government.
  • Make 2008 a national celebration of 60 years of the NHS, with events in every school and community.

    2. Why do you think health reforms have produced such a strong reaction from NHS staff?

    All change is difficult. I think we need to work more closely with the unions and patients’ groups, and involve the public more. For example, I would want to reform PCTs so that an element of their boards are directly elected.

    3. Should extensive private sector involvement in the health service be continued or curtailed and why? Do you favour the expansion of private involvement into primary care, with companies running GP surgeries and PCT services being outsourced?

    If the independent sector or mutual sector can help to deliver better NHS services, for example by reducing waiting times for knee, hip or cataract operations, then we should have no ideological opposition to it.

    4. Aside from private sector involvement, reforms have aimed to create a quasi-market with NHS hospitals competing with each other and earning their ‘payments by results’. Has this been wise and should it continue to be the direction of travel?

    Yes, because we need more transparency in the funding and expenditure of the NHS, not least to expose the inequalities in health spending between poor and rich areas.

    5. There has been talk recently of charges for health services – Charles Clarke said the NHS should provide core services for free but demand a fee for peripheral treatments. What would your policy be on NHS charges?

    Instinctively I am against them, but I would need to see the detail before saying ‘never’.

    6. Does the public really value choice in the NHS?

    Yes. The middle classes have always had choice. They’ve played the system. The working class have put up with second-rate services from the NHS. This is what experts call the ‘inverse care law’ and as socialists we have a duty to address it. By introducing choice, we give power to patients, and that will lead to better, fairer services.


  • ✹ Try our new pay-as-you-feel subscription — you choose how much to pay.

    Utopia: Work less play more
    A shorter working week would benefit everyone, writes Madeleine Ellis-Petersen

    Short story: Syrenka
    A short story by Kirsten Irving

    Mum’s Colombian mine protest comes to London
    Anne Harris reports on one woman’s fight against a multinational coal giant

    Bike courier Maggie Dewhurst takes on the gig economy… and wins
    We spoke to Mags about why she’s ‘biting the hand that feeds her’

    Utopia: Daring to dream
    Imagining a better world is the first step towards creating one. Ruth Potts introduces our special utopian issue

    Utopia: Room for all
    Nadhira Halim and Andy Edwards report on the range of creative responses to the housing crisis that are providing secure, affordable housing across the UK

    A better Brexit
    The left should not tail-end the establishment Bremoaners, argues Michael Calderbank

    News from movements around the world
    Compiled by James O’Nions

    Podemos: In the Name of the People
    'The emergence as a potential party of government is testament both to the richness of Spanish radical culture and the inventiveness of activists such as Errejón' - Jacob Mukherjee reviews Errejón and Mouffe's latest release

    Survival Shake! – creative ways to resist the system
    Social justice campaigner Sakina Sheikh describes a project to embolden young people through the arts

    ‘We don’t want to be an afterthought’: inside Momentum Kids
    If Momentum is going to meet the challenge of being fully inclusive, a space must be provided for parents, mothers, carers, grandparents and children, write Jessie Hoskin and Natasha Josette

    The Kurdish revolution – a report from Rojava
    Peter Loo is supporting revolutionary social change in Northern Syria.

    How to make your own media
    Lorna Stephenson and Adam Cantwell-Corn on running a local media co-op

    Book Review: The EU: an Obituary
    Tim Holmes takes a look at John Gillingham's polemical history of the EU

    Book Review: The End of Jewish Modernity
    Author Daniel Lazar reviews Enzo Traverso's The End of Jewish Modernity

    Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants
    Ida-Sofie Picard introduces Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants – as told to Jenny Nelson

    Book review: Angry White People: Coming Face to Face With the British Far-Right
    Hilary Aked gets close up with the British far right in Hsiao-Hung Pai's latest release

    University should not be a debt factory
    Sheldon Ridley spoke to students taking part in their first national demonstration.

    Book Review: The Day the Music Died – a Memoir
    Sheila Rowbotham reviews the memoirs of BBC director and producer, Tony Garnett.

    Power Games: A Political History
    Malcolm Maclean reviews Jules Boykoff's Power Games: A Political History

    Book Review: Sex, Needs and Queer Culture: from liberation to the post-gay
    Aiming to re-evaluate the radicalism and efficacy of queer counterculture and rebellion - April Park takes us through David Alderson's new work.

    A book review every day until Christmas at Red Pepper
    Red Pepper will be publishing a new book review each day until Christmas

    Book Review: Corbyn: The Strange Rebirth of Radical Politics
    'In spite of the odds Corbyn is still standing' - Alex Doherty reviews Seymour's analysis of the rise of Corbyn

    From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation
    'A small manifesto for black liberation through socialist revolution' - Graham Campbell reviews Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor's 'From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation'

    The abolition of Art History A-Level will exacerbate social inequality
    This is a massive blow to the rights of ordinary kids to have the same opportunities as their more privileged peers. Danielle Child reports.

    Mass civil disobedience in Sudan
    A three-day general strike has brought Sudan to a stand still as people mobilise against the government and inequality. Jenny Nelson writes.

    Mustang film review: Three fingers to Erdogan
    Laura Nicholson reviews Mustang, Deniz Gamze Erguven’s unashamedly feminist film critique of Turkey’s creeping conservatism

    What if the workers were in control?
    Hilary Wainwright reflects on an attempt by British workers to produce a democratically determined alternative plan for their industry

    Airport expansion is a racist policy
    Climate change is a colonial crisis, writes Jo Ram

    Momentum Kids: the parental is political
    Momentum Kids is not about indoctrinating children, but rather the more radical idea that children have an important role to play in shaping the future, writes Kristen Hope