Published: 24/02/2005, Volume II5, No. 5944 Page 10

On Sunday evening the BBC's Panorama asked: 'What has Labour done for the NHS?' The programme probably didn't tell most HSJ readers anything they didn't know already.

For once, though, managers were not painted too cruelly.

Most interesting was the analysis commissioned from King's Fund chief economist Professor John Appleby, which showed that the 7.4 per cent increase in NHS funding amounts to a rise of just over 2 per cent this year and next.

The focus of the attention was Bedford Hospital trust, still associated with the scandal that saw off chief executive Ken Williams.

The year after the 2001 incident, when a chapel of rest was used as a makeshift mortuary, the trust got zero stars.

Now it has three and an optimistic chief executive in Andrew Reed - though forecasts of a£3m end-of-year deficit have left those stars feeling precarious.