Magazine article Public Finance

Ch-Ch-Changes

Magazine article Public Finance

Ch-Ch-Changes

Article excerpt

Change. It's what we all want, apparently. It's the reason for a belated surge of interest in the election campaign, the eruption of Cleggmania. and a seismic shift in the polls.

The emergence of the I-agree-withNick tendency was perhaps to be expected after 13 years of New Labour government, shocking expenses revelations and the worst economic convulsions since the 1930s.

But what kind of change is good for public services? In the midst of all the turbulence, it's easy to lose sight of what - in the long run - has a real impact on people's lives.

Take health. So far. this has figured little in the campaign. Yet there are few areas of public policy where more change has occurred. And few that are more important to the electorate.

As the King's Fund points out this week (see cover feature, pages 20-23), countless legislative measures, targets and initiatives have radically reshaped the health service in England. Huge levels of investment have brought health spending up to average European levels.

It might be unfashionable to say so, but throwing all these funds and performance targets at the NHS appears, in the main, to have worked.

Waiting times for diagnosis and treatment have fallen dramatically, and the scandalous pile-ups in A&E are largely a thing of the past. …

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