A protest against the government's health reforms. Photo: Getty
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The government's NHS reforms have been "disastrous"

A respected health policy think tank, the King's Fund, has blasted the government's restructuring of the health service.

Bad news for David Cameron, and another "weapon" in Ed Miliband's NHS armoury, as a think tank blasts the coalition's "disastrous" health reforms.

A think tank respected on health policy, the King's Fund, has found the government's restructuring of the NHS "distracted" from patient care. Its chief executive, Chris Ham, told the BBC:

People in the NHS focused on rearranging the deckchairs rather than the core business of improving patient care.

That's contributed to the increasing waiting times and declining performance that patients are experiencing.

The think tank report finds the government's "set of policies designed to streamline and simplify the organisation of the NHS ended up having the opposite effect" and adds that the new system is "bewildering in its complexity" and has left a "strategic vacuum" in some areas.

Although this criticism was just reserved for the first three years of the government's changes, and the think tank's report found focus to have returned to patient care in the past two years, this report is still a big blow to the Prime Minister. His party has been suffering a lack of trust from the electorate on the health service ever since it began pushing the controversial Health and Social Care Bill (now an Act), which is something Labour has been playing to its advantage in the polls.

The report also levelled criticism at Labour, accusing it of "crying wolf" with "ill-founded" claims that the coalition has been privatising the NHS. I have also argued that the opposition's cries of "privatisation" lack authenticity, considering the last Labour government's role in letting the market in. Yet if independent bodies are nevertheless focusing on the government's failures regarding the NHS, this will only fuel the success Miliband has had so far in making the subject central to his election campaign.

Anoosh Chakelian is deputy web editor at the New Statesman.

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Appreciate the full horror of Nigel Farage's pro-Trump speech

The former Ukip leader has appeared at a Donald Trump rally. It went exactly as you would expect.

It is with a heavy heart that I must announce Nigel Farage is at it again.

The on-again, off-again Ukip leader and current Member of the European Parliament has appeared at a Donald Trump rally to lend his support to the presidential candidate.

It was, predictably, distressing.

Farage started by telling his American audience why they, like he, should be positive.

"I come to you from the United Kingdom"

Okay, good start. Undeniably true.

"– with a message of hope –

Again, probably quite true.

Image: Clearly hopeful (Wikipedia Screenshot)

– and optimism.”

Ah.

Image: Nigel Farage in front of a poster showing immigrants who are definitely not European (Getty)

He continues: “If the little people, if the real people–”

Wait, what?

Why is Trump nodding sagely at this?

The little people?

Image: It's a plane with the name Trump on it (Wikimedia Commons)

THE LITTLE PEOPLE?

Image: It's the word Trump on the side of a skyscraper I can't cope with this (Pixel)

THE ONLY LITTLE PERSON CLOSE TO TRUMP IS RIDING A MASSIVE STUFFED LION

Image: I don't even know what to tell you. It's Trump and his wife and a child riding a stuffed lion. 

IN A PENTHOUSE

A PENTHOUSE WHICH LOOKS LIKE LIBERACE WAS LET LOOSE WITH THE GILT ON DAY FIVE OF A PARTICULARLY BAD BENDER

Image: So much gold. Just gold, everywhere.

HIS WIFE HAS SO MANY BAGS SHE HAS TO EMPLOY A BAG MAN TO CARRY THEM

Image: I did not even know there were so many styles of Louis Vuitton, and my dentists has a lot of old copies of Vogue.

Anyway. Back to Farage, who is telling the little people that they can win "against the forces of global corporatism".

 

Image: Aaaaarggghhhh (Wikipedia Screenshot)

Ugh. Okay. What next? Oh god, he's telling them they can have a Brexit moment.

“... you can beat Washington...”

“... if enough decent people...”

“...are prepared to stand up against the establishment”

Image: A screenshot from Donald Trump's Wikipedia page.

I think I need a lie down.

Watch the full clip here:

Stephanie Boland is digital assistant at the New Statesman. She tweets at @stephanieboland