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Monday 21st May 2018

Is it 'make or break' for the NHS?

11th June 2009

Speaking at the NHS Confederation conference, the organisation’s chief executive Steve Barnett says the NHS is facing a crucial moment in its history.


Addressing the NHS Confederation Conference, Steve Barnett told delegates that they were on the threshold of the most challenging period in NHS history, to the extent that it could even be “make or break.”

“A change of government will not change our predicament,” he said, despite Conservative shadow health secretary Andrew Lansley insisting that real term growth for the NHS would continue under a Tory regime after 2011.

The NHS Confederation remains concerned that the health service could be faced with a real-terms cut between 2011 and 2014 of £20bn.

He said: “The cold hard fact is that today we have just under two years to take radical action if our NHS is to remain true to its founding principle of excellent care free at the point of need.”

Amid claims that the NHS could be run by frontline staff alone, Mr Barnett responded say that a notion that managers get in the way of patient care was “misguided” and that it was “preposterous” that the service could not be run without managers.

“I intend to address that distortion head on and defend in a properly balanced way the real contribution that managers make – delivering care to patients,” he told delegates.

He told the NHS managers that local leadership was vital under the scenario of tightening finances, and called on the Department of Health to “deliver and devolve,” to them.


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