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An independent NHS?

5th November 2007

Prime Minister Gordon Brown has been urged by the Conservative Party to back proposals it has put forward to make the NHS in England independent.

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The Tories want an NHS constitution and an independent board to take on the health department’s responsibilities in a move they see as freeing the NHS from “political tinkering? and leaving the health secretary able to focus more on public health issues like obesity and smoking.

The Conservative Party will introduce a NHS (Autonomy and Accountability) Bill either as an opposition bill or private members’ bill in the next Parliamentary session.

However, it would need the government’s support to stand any chance of becoming law.

In outlining the draft, shadow health secretary Andrew Lansley said Mr Brown had talked about independence for the NHS and cutting political interference, but had no proposals to do so.

“The government has failed - somebody needs to set out a coherent structure for long-term reform,? he said. “The NHS is being held back by top down targets and suffocating bureaucracy.?

Other Tory proposals include making the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence independent and creating a body called Healthwatch to give patients a stronger voice.

But the government has rejected the plans and health minister Ben Bradshaw said: “It is simply wrong to suggest that taxpayers should invest £90bn in the NHS but there should be no political accountability for how that money is spent. Under Tory plans, ministers would be powerless to intervene where a hospital is failing.?

 

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