Health Secretary Alan Milburn launched the NHS Census as ’the
biggest consultation of its kind’ but it met with near-universal
Commentators poured scorn on the exercise as a waste of public money and
time. The bungled process appeared to leave the public with only five
days to complete and return the forms and Milburn was forced to issue an
In an attempt to sweeten the pill, the Government guaranteed shorter
waiting times and wheeled out one NHS success, patient Elaine Tierney
who had nothing but praise for the NHS after 168 operations. Tory
spokesman Liam Kane promptly branded the census as a PR stunt while Lord
Bell described it as a ’classic case of spivving’ in an article in the
Sunday Telegraph (5/6). He pointed out that the survey was nothing more
than a ’giant marketing exercise designed to convince people that Labour
is spending more money on the NHS’.
Increasingly the press seem to regard the NHS, and waiting lists in
particular, as the Government’s Achille’s heel.
Analysis and commentary by Echo Research.
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