NHS values should be preserved, but institutions changed, former health secretary tells conference

BMJ 2015; 351 doi: (Published 22 October 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;351:h5646
  1. Matthew Limb
  1. 1London

The NHS urgently needs new, “independent thinking” from anywhere in the world and “from any sector” because its institutions are failing, a former health secretary has said.

Stephen Dorrell said that people had forgotten the NHS was “an idea, not an organisation,” founded on commitment to principles of equitable access to high quality healthcare.

He said that those values had been “attached to a set of institutions that we’ve inherited which are no longer fit for purpose. We should separate the values of the NHS from the institutions.”

Dorrell was Conservative health secretary from 1995-97 and now chairs the NHS Confederation. He is also a senior adviser to the private company KPMG and former chairman of the …

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