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Wednesday 20th June 2018

Gordon Brown's NHS Challenges

4th July 2007

As Prime Minister Gordon Brown's new cabinet settle down to business, King's Fund chief executive Niall Dickson looks at the key health issues for the government to tackle in the future.

future of nhsQ

The Prime Minister is aware that his actions mean the difference between winning or losing the next election. He has pledged to "improve access to GPs and to re-engage with health care professionals" and says that his priority is change within the NHS.

He faces a challenge by a confident Conservative party. David Cameron's speech at the King's Fund in 2006 represented a "seminal moment."

All the signs point to a convergence of policy for the current government and the opposition. Challenges face the new administration, particularly surrounding the issues relating to patient choice.

The care of elderly people must be examined in order to lessen pressure on secondary care services. Service providers need to ensure they develop their services to "deliver higher productivity and better value."

This is a "challenging agenda." There are three key points at the forefront: improved out-of-hours access to primary care, tackling hospital infection and employment of staff locally.

The idea of an "independent NHS board" is unlikely. Mr Brown's intentions could veer towards the development of an NHS constitution to "underline the values and purpose of the service." He needs "political courage" in order to make key changes relating to service providers and delivery.

Management of reforms will be a complex task. The new Secretary of State must comprehend current changes, develop services and manage "professional hostility and backbench anxiety."


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