Below is the text of the speech made by the Secretary of State for Health, Andrew Lansley, on NHS modernisation to NHS staff at Frimley Park Hospital in Surrey on the 5th April 2011. The Prime Minister, David Cameron, and the Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, were both also in attendance.
There is no more important institution in this country than the NHS. This is true for everyone, not least for me. I am passionate about improving our NHS; for today and for generations to come.
As David and Nick have said, there is widespread support for the principles of our proposals:
– For a patient-centred service with ‘No decision about me, without me’;
– For clinical leadership,
– And a relentless focus on what matters most, clinical outcomes and results for patients;
But while there is agreement on the principles, people also have genuine concerns as to the detail. So in the coming weeks we will pause, listen, reflect and improve with the professions and the public to make the Bill better in four areas.
First, we need to make sure that we have the right sort of competition in the Health Service. Not competition for its own sake, not cherry picking the lowest hanging fruit, not giving preference to the private sector over and above NHS or charities.
Fair competition that delivers better outcomes for patients.
Second, we need patients and the public to play an active role in the NHS. Local decisions should not be made behind closed doors, but open to the genuine influence of the people they serve.
Care should be integrated and designed around an individual’s needs. The needs of the patient, not the convenience of the system, should come first.
Third, commissioning should mean GPs coming together with their colleagues across the NHS – nurses, allied health professionals, hospital consultants – to design the best possible services for patients. That is the idea. The Bill must make this a reality.
And finally, education and training. The new NHS must build upon what works for the benefit of patients.
Today heralds the first of a series of listening exercises and events with the Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Minister and me. This as a genuine opportunity to shape the future of the NHS.
The NHS Future Panel, a team of top health professionals, will help lead the process and be chaired by Professor Steve Field, former head of the RCGP.
And anyone can go to the Department of Health website to put forward their ideas on the four areas.
By taking advantage of this natural pause in the legislative process, taking us up to late May or early June, we can be sure that we achieve what is our ultimate goal:
– a health service that is free;
– that is based on need and never a person’s ability to pay;
– and an NHS that, on what matters most – on outcomes for patients – is consistently among the very best in the world.
I want to thank the more than 6,000 GP practices already taking the lead in improving local services and to thank the 90% of local authorities who are starting to bring a greater degree of local democratic accountability and coordination to the Health Service.
I encourage everyone to take part in this and to help make the NHS as good as we know it can be.