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Health for London: are we now on the right route?

BMJ 2007; 335 doi: (Published 12 July 2007) Cite this as: BMJ 2007;335:98
  1. Stephen Thornton, chief executive, The Health Foundation, London
  1. Stephen.thornton{at}

    This week sees the publication of Healthcare for London: A Framework for Action, a review of London's health service by Ara Darzi, chairman of surgery at Imperial College London and now a junior health minister (see News doi: 10.1136/bmj.39273.467697.DB). NHS London, the capital's strategic health authority, commissioned Professor Darzi to set out a vision for a world class health service for London.

    How refreshing it is to read a policy document that focuses on real health problems and makes practical suggestions about how to solve them. Not for Professor Darzi a theoretical exposition of system reform or a set of proposals for organisational change that seem remote from the delivery of health care at the coalface; instead he gives us a vision of future health care in London that simply makes sense. His work, too, heralds the welcome return of service planning—much derided by governments over the past 20 years but necessary even where providers operate in a competitive market environment, giving clear signals of long term intent to attract potential investors.

    Many of London's healthcare problems have been well known for …

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