Labour has launched an excellent website called Better With Labour, looking first at all the changes that have been made to the NHS under Labour and how matters have improved. Life expectancy for males in Southwark is up by 3.2 years!
But hang on. This is all very well. The website is slick, the interactive map is very well programmed. But is anyone actually going to really believe the stats that are on that site? It’s a hard enough job to get the population to believe stats provided by the NHS itself, let alone stats from a website provided by the Labour Party. Plus with the media being so fierce against the NHS, the population at large thinks matters in the NHS are dire, even if their own personal experience has been good – a matter developed in this column by Polly Toynbee.
My own experience of the NHS in recent years has been excellent (see this post) and my local GP’s surgery in Southwark is well funded, appointments are swift, and everything seems to be doing well. So what can I make of all of these facts? The power must surely lie in connecting the wider trends with the personal experience – I reckon that’s where the real power is with that website, arming individuals with facts to help back up their own experience. Labour needs to find ways of arming its people with the stats and letting those individuals do the talking – if of course those people are motivated by the new leader to go out on the doorstep in forthcoming election campaigns.
Like you I think the site’s quite impressive, but the way the data is set out will make some question its accuracy. It needs to be clearer where the information has come from to lend it credibility.
I think they’ve also missed a trick in being so output focused – x more nurses and doctors – when the real test is in the outcomes of the investment – life expectancy, numbers surviving cancers, number of smokers who’ve given up, sexual health. Most of which have improved significantly in my neck of the woods.
Like you my experience of the NHS over recent years – two kids, an operation as well as the usual visits to the GP – has been excellent. Weird that this doesn’t translate into a wider mood about the service.