New Labour and reform of the English NHS: some user views and attitudes

Wallace, Andrew and Taylor-Gooby, Peter (2010) New Labour and reform of the English NHS: some user views and attitudes. Health Expectations, 13 (2). pp. 208-217. ISSN 1369-6513

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The British National Health Service has undergone significant restructuring in recent years. In England this has taken a distinctive direction where the New Labour Government has embraced and intensified the influence of market principles towards its vision of a 'modernized' NHS. This has entailed the introduction of competition and incentives for providers of NHS care and the expansion of choice for patients.

To explore how users of the NHS perceive and respond to the market reforms being implemented within the NHS. In addition, to examine the normative values held by NHS users in relation to welfare provision in the UK.

Qualitative interviews using a quota sample of 48 recent NHS users in South East England recruited from three local health economies.

Some NHS users are exhibiting an ambivalent or anxious response to aspects of market reform such as patient choice, the use of targets and markets and the increasing presence of the private sector within the state healthcare sector. This has resulted in a sense that current reforms, are distracting or preventing NHS staff from delivering quality of care and fail to embody the relationships of care that are felt to sustain the NHS as a progressive public institution.

The best way of delivering such values for patients is perceived to involve empowering frontline staffs who are deemed to embody the same values as service users, thus problematizing the current assumptions of reform frameworks that market-style incentives will necessarily gain public consent and support.

Keywords:Market reform, user views, patient experience, new Labour
Subjects:L Social studies > L410 UK Social Policy
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Social & Political Sciences
ID Code:6633
Deposited On:20 Oct 2012 14:32

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