The NHS ‘golden era’: a failed idea that probably won’t die


Housing and Planning

Matthew Lesh writes in City AM

In the Media

Marc Glendening writes in Conservative Home

Kristian Niemietz writes in The Telegraph

IEA Head of Political Economy Kristian Niemietz has written for The Daily Telegraph debunking the emerging idea that the NHS had a ‘golden era’ before being mismanaged into decline.

Kristian wrote:

“Between 2014 and 2016, I wrote a series of reports highlighting areas of poor NHS performance, and every time one of those reports was published, medical Twitter – by which I mean medical professionals (in the broadest sense) who double up as political activists on social media – exploded with fits of rage…Fast-forward to 2023, and we can read articles complaining about the sorry state of the NHS almost every day. 

“What has really changed is that it has become possible to detach criticism of the current state of the NHS from criticism of the NHS as such. The fashionable opinion has shifted from ‘The NHS is wonderful, and anyone who suggests otherwise is a bad person who wants poor people to die in the streets’ to ‘The NHS used to be wonderful, but 13 years of Tory mismanagement and deliberate underfunding have brought it to the brink of collapse’.

“This story implies that there was a time when NHS performance was fine, and that there is an identifiable watershed moment (probably the year 2010, or not much later) after which it began to deteriorate…But where we have data for UK healthcare outcomes over time, this is not at all what we see. 

“If we want better healthcare outcomes, the answer does not lie in a mythological past which never existed. It lies in alternative systems, such as the Dutch one, that produce better outcomes in the here and now.”

Read Kristian’s full article here.