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Observations Health and Social Care Bill

Why legislation is necessary for my health reforms

BMJ 2012; 344 doi: (Published 01 February 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;344:e789
  1. Andrew Lansley, secretary of state for health, London

Andrew Lansley responds to Martin McKee’s recent BMJ article criticising the health bill

I read Martin McKee’s article “Does anyone understand the government’s plan for the NHS?” with interest (BMJ 2012;344:e399, doi:10.1136/bmj.e399). The NHS, of course, has never been the easiest of organisations to understand—most people I have met have never even heard of a primary care trust. But this government’s modernisation plans for the NHS can be summarised, most simply, in four ways.

Firstly, they will safeguard the NHS for the future—an NHS that remains free at the point of use, is funded from general taxation, and is based on need and not ability to pay.

Secondly, they will put patients first, by giving them more information and more control over the care they receive. What should be available to patients—and available to their doctors or other health professionals to discuss with them—are meaningful options about the care they can receive. For patients “no decision about me, without me” should be the norm.

Thirdly, they will focus the NHS on the overall results it delivers for patients. That is why we have recently launched the NHS Outcomes Framework (BMJ 2011;343:d8031, doi:10.1136/bmj.d8031), developed from the vision first set out under Labour by Ara Darzi about what a high quality NHS should deliver: safe, effective care, of which patients have a good experience.

Fourthly, they will give the public and NHS staff the power …

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