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A look at our NHS since 1997

(84 Posts)
Whitewavemark2 Mon 18-Nov-19 09:34:19

The Labour Party took government in 1997 with the promise of “saving the NHS”.
During the Major years he had struggled to reverse much of the damage done by Thatcher, and although he was a constant and passionate exponent if the NHS, was largely unsuccessful in reversing much of the funding cuts inflicted on the NHS by Thatcher.

The NHS was perceived to be in crises by the time the Labour government took control in 1997.

The Kings Fund produced a progress report from 1997 to 2010 measuring progress against a number of criteria.

* Between 1997 and 2010 funding for the NHS doubled.
*progress during those 13 years had been considerable
*the NHS was high performing in a number of areas
* more people were being seen, more quickly.

A number of important achievements are highlighted, including major reductions in waiting times and rates of health care associated infections and progress in reducing smoking rates. There has been a concerted effort to implement national standards of care for major diseases across the NHS which has contributed to the continued falls in deaths from cancer and cardiovascular disease.

There are less obvious changes too, including improvements in data collection and reporting, at a national and local level. There is now far more information about performance in the public domain, accessible to patients, carers and members of the public, than ever before.

The report concluded

Despite the challenges the future holds, the next government must build on the progress made and aspire to create an NHS that can deliver quality to all patients, in all areas, all of the time.

So now let’s turn to what has happened to this progress since 1997 and whether it has been maintained over the past 10 years.

Cancer waiting times.

The Labour government had reduced the waiting time, with 85% of patients waiting no more than 62 days to first definitive treatment.

Anyone who has been unfortunate enough to have suffered from cancer like me will know how terrifying the wait is.

Between 2009 and 2014 the target of 85% was consistently reached and in most cases exceeded. So less than a total of 15% of people with suspected cancer were having to face that awful wait.

From 2014 the target was failed and has not once returned to the 85% since then. In fact it is climbing and by 2017 was consistently about 20% of people having to wait and is still climbing.

We all know that cancer success rates are related to early intervention.

I expect the NHS cancer mortality rates will almost certainly deteriorate.

Whitewavemark2 Mon 18-Nov-19 09:41:35

Accident and emergency waiting times.

Since 2010 the target has been that no more than 5% of folk should wait more than 4 hours to be seen.

This was largely met between 2010 and 2014 but since then the target has been consistently missed.

However most alarmingly the trend has risen at a very fast rate with every month exceeding the target at an ever higher level.

Whitewavemark2 Mon 18-Nov-19 09:47:01

The waiting list and elective waiting times.

Once again the figures remained fairly consistent until 2014, since when the waiting times have risen swiftly and by 2017 it had risen by 50%. Remember that none if these figures will have decreased since 2017

Whitewavemark2 Mon 18-Nov-19 09:59:41

Health care associated infection.

This is one area of notable success in the NHS with the cases of MRSA, C.Difficile, and MSSA with the teen continuing downwards until 2015 since which the graph seems to be flattening out.

Whitewavemark2 Mon 18-Nov-19 10:01:26

Delayed transfers of care targets.

These have risen rapidly since 2014.

Whitewavemark2 Mon 18-Nov-19 10:06:55

The broad picture of NHS performance over the last seven years or so does not look encouraging. Of the trends across ten measures of service quality, seven have deteriorated and are currently on trend for even poorer performance; two (MRSA and C. difficile) have plateaued, following improvement in previous years; and one (diagnostic waiting times), while now on a downward trend, remains above target and similar to levels in 2011.

But there does appear to be an emerging answer to the question QualityWatch posed at its outset concerning the possible trade-off between performance and funding growth. Performance across a majority of the quality metrics analysed began to deteriorate three or four years into the period of much slower funding growth for the NHS.

With current Government spending plans for the next five years to 2022/23 set to continue the relatively low growth of the last seven years, it remains to be seen whether trends in many of the key quality measures examined here will continue on the deteriorating paths they have taken over the last few years, or whether the NHS can find new ways to reverse these trends.

Following the 2017 Autumn Budget settlement for the NHS over the next few years, the view of the NHS England board is that “even with some increased volume, and even assuming this year's [2017/18] unprecedented elective demand management success continues, our current forecast is that – without offsetting reductions in other areas of care – NHS constitution waiting times standards, in the round, will not be fully funded and met next year.”
In other words, the opportunity cost of stabilising current overspending by trusts and prioritising emergency and primary care services may well be further deterioration in elective waiting lists and waiting times.

Think the NHS is safe in Tory hands?

Think again.

The Kings Fund report 1997-2010
The Nuffield Trust, trends in the NHS 2010-2017.

Grany Mon 18-Nov-19 10:26:41


This general election is about the future of our NHS and what the Tories have done to it.

This is what frontline NHS staff are saying

If you care about the NHS Please don't vote conservative

Grany Mon 18-Nov-19 10:29:06


varian Tue 19-Nov-19 14:08:42

GPs are shifting to support the LibDems. These are people working very much at the sharp end of the NHS.

A poll of GPs voting intentions found that 31% intend to vote Liberal Democrat, compared with only 219% in 2017.

varian Tue 19-Nov-19 14:09:55

correction- only 19% (not 219%) in 2017, compared with 31% now.

Whitewavemark2 Tue 19-Nov-19 14:13:20

Not sure why.

The Lib-dems are complicit in the austerity inflicted on the NHS

varian Tue 19-Nov-19 14:16:13

That's a handy slogan for the Labour Party, but the truth is that without the moderating influence of the LibDems in coalition austerity would have been a great deal worse. The 2010-15 government now looks quite benign compared with the unadulterated Tory regime of the last four and a half years

Whitewavemark2 Wed 20-Nov-19 16:14:31

Dr Phil Hammond
, for the avoidance of doubt, could you please name the 40 new hospitals, the timescale for completion, the cost, how the need for each was determined & precisely what you mean by ‘new’ and ‘hospital’? Thank you.

notanan2 Wed 20-Nov-19 16:23:45

The labour party are using UK stats without admitting that the reason some overall cancer performance figures are so bad is because NHS Wales is doing SO badly under labour that it is dragging down the figures for the whole of the UK!

Oopsminty Wed 20-Nov-19 16:28:50

Have you mentioned the Labour Party introducing partial privatisation in 2003?

Oopsminty Wed 20-Nov-19 16:31:03

Also I was working for the NHS under Blair.

One of their 'brilliant' ideas was stopping people waiting now than 4 hours in A&E.

They did this by moving the patients to a different room


Whitewavemark2 Wed 20-Nov-19 16:39:54

I assume that you are aware that the reports etc are produced by the Kingsfund And Nuffield Trust?

You couldn’t get a more accurate picture of the state of our NHS and the chaos the Tories are causing.

Tax payers good money was used to progress the NHS to a standard that was beginning to be the pride of the UK and recognised all over the world for its outstanding level of care.

From 2010 the Tories trashed everything the tax payer had achieved and made such deep cuts in the funding that b6 2014 the poor NHS began to creak at the seams, it is now in such a poor state that many fear that areas like A&E will implode.

The Tories are entirely to blame.

Whitewavemark2 Wed 20-Nov-19 16:40:51

oopsminty do you have a reference for your statements or are they just gossip?

notanan2 Wed 20-Nov-19 16:52:26

Oh they are accurate as whole UK figures.

Look into how much NHS Wales's failures are affecting the bigger picture though...

Whitewavemark2 Wed 20-Nov-19 16:57:55

notonan if you can find an accurate report if you are keen to show what’s happening to Wales, I will be interested. But I would be careful what you wish for 🙂

Oopsminty Wed 20-Nov-19 17:01:06


EllanVannin Wed 20-Nov-19 17:04:08

A lot depends on your GP and of course the hospital which serves you as to whether you get the earliest appointment for a cancer diagnosis-----from GP to hospital, 2 weeks at most.
Where I live there doesn't appear to be a problem.

We also have a good local walk-in centre for minor injuries which helps take the heat off the main general hospital.
The Clatterbridge cancer centre isn't far from where I live and that hospital treats many from around the country as well as the Isle of Man where most are flown over for treatment.

If it wasn't for Brexit these places would have ample staff but because there are quite a few from other countries including the Eastern Bloc, the poor souls don't know if they're coming or going and are uncertain about their futures.
Damn Brexit and all it stands for !!

Whitewavemark2 Wed 20-Nov-19 17:05:20

oopsminty does cba stand for haven’t a clue I might have just made it up a bit?

Liz46 Wed 20-Nov-19 17:11:05

EllanVannin, I must live fairly close to you and have had fantastic treatment from Wirral Teaching Hospitals. Very kind and efficient staff.

notanan2 Wed 20-Nov-19 17:18:27

I have posted examples on the labour thread. Although you could yourself dig a bit deeper before re posting labour propoganda.