Headlines from November 1996:
2 November: ‘Hospital crisis’
18 November: ‘Scandal of lost NHS operations...’
18 November: ‘One in seven operations… cancelled due to cutbacks in NHS’
15 November: ‘700 clinical jobs, from consultants to nurses, will be axed’ – at a single hospital
4 November: ‘Hospital trusts go broke as NHS is bled dry’
20 November: ‘Hospitals warn of worst fund crisis for years’ and warns of ‘“emergency only” service this winter’
People on the left sometimes complain that Labour has done too little to change the political culture. But it’s a sign of success here (albeit an inconvenient and frustrating sign) that people’s expectations of the NHS are now so much higher than ten years ago that its present condition is seen as inadequate. Not to mention the fact that the Tories no longer dare wave the axe around (not in public, at least).
And it’s worth remembering that people who actually use the NHS have a much higher opinion of it than people who base their opinions on what the media say.