Intended for healthcare professionals

Analysis And Comment

NHS authority may not fix what isn't really broken

BMJ 2006; 333 doi: (Published 27 July 2006) Cite this as: BMJ 2006;333:253
  1. Stephen Gillam (, general practitioner1
  1. 1 Lea Vale Medical Group, Liverpool Road Health Centre, Luton LU1 1HH

    In the face of another funding crisis, the government has resorted to the usual diversionary tactic of tinkering with structures. The sense of a government flip-flopping about has increased calls once more for a relationship that puts the NHS at arm's length from ministers, whom everyone blames for meddling and short termism.

    The case for an independent NHS authority has been made several times in the recent past.1 2 This body, the argument goes, could put politicians and parliamentarians in their proper place: developing policies. Public debate over the role and remit of such a body would increase transparency in the policy-making process. No longer preoccupied with daily fire fighting, health ministers might start to tackle the effects of poverty, the environment, food, housing, and education on health. Politicians would remain at the heart of strategic decisions while allowing the NHS …

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