Thursday, April 12, 2007

Doctors Desert Nanny Hewitt

If ever someone were judged on results, Patricia Hewitt would lose her job tomorrow. A poll out this morning shows that if there were a general election today ony 7 per cent of doctors would vote Labour. Let me repeat that. Seven per cent. Conservatives are on 43% (up 16% on 2005)and the LibDems on 15% (up 4%). Labour are down from 24% in 2005.

The poll also found a lack of support for Chancellor Gordon Brown leading the NHS as Prime Minister. Asked "Would the NHS provide a better service under Gordon Brown?", 6% said 'yes', 61% said 'no' and 32% said they were unsure. Just 2% of doctors described their level of morale at work as excellent, with 54% saying it was poor or terrible.

Meanwhile, figures obtained by Shadow Health Secretary Andrew Lansley show that 80% of spending on new hospitals had gone to Labour constituencies. Now there's a surprise. Hasn't done them much good though, has it?


Chris Paul said...

Oh come on Iain! Where is the link to this "poll". Is it even really a "poll"? Why would GPs and Consultants who have had a HUGE windfall in pay and facilities from Labour vote against? On the other hand why would anyone positive about the party take part in a "poll" that is obviously just a self-serving whinge? Link to this poll. Tell us the method. Tell us how people opted in. And tell us you're sorry for (again) posting such tosh on your estimable site.

BJ said...

Is the NHS the only thing that influences how doctors vote? I bet it isn't.

Most polls suggest a fairly big swing from Labour to the Tories. My psephological assumption says the majority of swing-voters are going to be middle class, quite wealthy people. Like doctors. So although the NHS is an issue to everyday voters, I bet this poll is just a "topslice" of the ordinary opinion polls we see every week.

Anonymous said...

Labour have made an utter mess of the NHS, especially on dentistry. One of my local residents has been waiting a year to be fitted with a metal denture. He clinically needs one, but dentists have been refusing to give it to him on the NHS on the grounds of cost and uncertainty over their new contract. Despite the billions they claim to have put in, their incompetence and mismanagement means that someone who has paid taxes all of their life is now missing out on the treatment that they need.

More details can be found at

Chris Paul said...

And another thing. Lansley is a twerp as you well know. If Tories had all the constituencies in big cities like Manchester then THEY would be getting the investment in their constituencies.

Hospitals are located in places where there are lots of people and good transport links - like urban centres - Tories are simply NOT located in these places. You blogged about that yourself only yesterday. There are no-go areas for both Labour and Tories. Citiues tend to be yours.

But the nice but dim Graham Brady can get on a good bus or drive a couple of miles to a great hospital in Manchester if his own local one doesn't have the speciality he needs. Brain transplant? Smugness extractions? Silver spoon removal?

Colin D said...

It gets even better in our part of the world Iain. Prosser devoted all of his weekly epistle to our local “hospital” telling us how vast sums of OUR wonger has been devoted to the NHS. However, he still will not, cannot assure the populace that Dover will retain even a minor hospital. What a shambles this lot are. I would use stronger more appropriate language, but for you new policy [which I respect] of moderation.

Colin D said...

It gets even better in our part of the world Iain. Prosser devoted all of his weekly epistle to our local “hospital” telling us how vast sums of OUR wonger has been devoted to the NHS. However, he still will not, cannot assure the populace that Dover will retain even a minor hospital. What a shambles this lot are. I would use stronger more appropriate language, but for you new policy [which I respect] of moderation.

Old BE said...

Why would GPs and Consultants who have had a HUGE windfall in pay and facilities from Labour vote against?

Because despite the huge cash injection Labour have still managed to f*ck up the NHS (sorry for the language but it's true). Chris Paul if you speak to doctors they will tell you how they voted Labour in 2001 and 2005 because they thought the NHS was safer in your hands, but now many regret that decision and those made by Hewitt.

Praguetory said...

Chris Paul - pull the other one. Where are populations moving? Answer - From Labour areas to Tory ones. Where are hospitals being closed? Answer - Tory areas. Labour's use of electoral heatmaps and the like is Zimbabwesque. If Iain said the sky is blue you'd be here with your inane rebuttals.

Anonymous said...

Iain, your figures seem at variance with those quoted (for the same poll) on CH, where the 15% support for the Lib Dems is reported as a 5% fall in support (rather than a 4% increase). Who's right?

Anonymous said...

It's not 80% of money going on hospitals in Labour constituencies, it's 80% of the new hospitals which are situated in Labour constituencies. But that, of course, shows how bogus this statistic is. My local hospital, St Mary's Paddington, is in a Conservative constituency but serves all the people in the Labour constituencies around it. All this statistic means is that the hospitals are in town and city centres; it may also mean that Labour areas had a shortage of hospitals before 1997.

Anonymous said...

Down here in deepest, bluest West Sussex, there is an ongoing review considering the possibility of closing one, or the other, or both A&E units in the local hospitals, Chichester & Worthing. All driven by cash shortfalls. All conveniently being postponed, in stages, from last year until after the local elections. If either happens then ambulance journeys of 30 miles or more to the next nearest A&E (Portsmouth or Brighton) will be commonplace, with all manner of clinical complications following directly. Does this Government care? Not here they don't.

Anonymous said...

Talk about turkeys voting for Christmas. Huge pay rises, absolved from out of hours work and now they want to 'bite the hand'.

Next thing you know the Scots will be voting for independence.

Anonymous said...

In my neck of the woods G.P. is an ackronym for Greedy & Pointless, so to be frank who gives a toss about what they think?

The Druid said...

Hospitals for votes. Now I seem to recall a certain Conservative run council getting into a spot of bother with the so called home for votes scandal. Funny how these things turn out isn't it?

The flip side is of course that hospital closures are predominantly in Conservative and Lib Dem seats. I seem to also remember some labour hack banging on about "playing politics with people's lives". Um.

PS: Not sure why you are calling her Nanny Hewitt Iain. Nannies tend to be caring loving souls. Mrs Hewitt is most emphatically not. New term of abuse needed for our Ozzie 'chum'.

barry monk said...

Iain, where does this poll come from.

Traditionally Labour has had a high level of support amongst medics (certainly higher than other professional groups), so 7% would be quite telling.

The figures add up to 75%, so I suppose that the remaining 25% will be voting for single issue NHS candidates such as Richard Taylor,(of whom there will be several in the next general election...including here in Bedford)

Anonymous said...

Well I'm a doctor and I don't find this statistic at all surprising, but it is a fairly astonishing performance by Patricia Hewitt, as I would think most doctors were labour/lib dem leaning as recently as a couple of years ago.

I think doctors as a group are more attracted to the more moderate noises coming out of the conservative party, and not particularly impressed by Ming's lib dems.

Also it is clear that even if he is a bit dull, at least Andrew Lansley knows about health and makes sensible and considered comments in answer to questions from health professionals. In the unlikely event Patsy is seen anywhere near a hospital she only seems to spout garbage and appears completely out of her depth. Sorry Chris Paul!

Chris Paul said...

People! Clearly there are differences of opinion on this and Iain Dale and Co were pretty fair last night on Doughty Street. 55% of constituencies are Labour anyway. And the "skew" in the rest is reflective of where the centres of excellence are located. In Manchester we got cheated out of some centre of excellence cash on entirely spurious reasons and it hurts but hospitals getting investment on a collossal scale tend to be in big cities and therefore Labour constituencies.

Still no-one has commented on the validity of the "poll" and whether it even a real poll. Where's the link Iain? And no one has picked up BJ's point that Doctors are relatively rich and comfortable financially and live in Tory places or tried to control for this fact. People earning a large 5 or small to medium 6-figure sum may well be swingers.

Despite a ridiculously good ten years they've had with property and salary gains under Labour.

I don't support PFIs and I don't support the extent of marketisation but I do find it actually bizarre that Tory Psephologists find that closing or not expanding hospitals in marginal seats like say Rochdale (narrowly held by the Lib Dems) or Bury North (held by Labour but attacked by Tories) would actually be a way of formenting votes.

But I am particularly uninspired by Tory bloggers promoting dodgy polls as gospel and without a hint of reasonable analysis.

Anonymous said...

I have now located the poll, although I can't find details of the methodology. However this was a poll carried out by hospital doctor magizine (dull apolitical trade journal equivalent to welders monthly) and Medix, a medical information and polling site. The number of people surveyed was 1,442. The survey results are reported with balanced comments on the hospital doctor website HERE

Anonymous said...

And while there is some validity in your comments about big hospitals being in big cities, there are a lot of smaller hospitals in towns which have been systematically starved of money by the government's funding formula.

I suspect this particular aspect is mainly cock up rather than conspiracy, but there is no doubt that health services in the south of the country are suffering much more than those in the North.

I also do not have any doubt that the labour party is sensitive to the impact that the perception of local investment in health has on voting and has been more assiduous in shoring up investment in Labour constituencies and Labour held marginals. It is what any political party would do if it had any sense (and was unscrupulous enough)

And while GPs have done very well out of their pay settlement, hospital doctors have not fared so well (As a consultant I earn about 1/2 what most of our local GPs take home).

It takes a special form of management to give people a 10% pay rise, reduce their productivity by 10% and upset them all at the same time, but that was what the consultant contract achieved

So as I say I'm not at all surprised by this result