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Tuesday 25th October 2016

New approach to NHS reforms

24th June 2006

Health secretary Patricia Hewitt has promised more bottom-up and less top-down development in the next stage of NHS reforms, telling managers at the NHS Confederation conference that the NHS needed ‘the right kind of change’.

Ms Hewitt focused instead on reinforcing the importance of choice, diversity of provider, payment by results and regulation and recognition of the ‘passion, dedication and commitment’ of managers.

Ms Hewitt stressed the need for a new kind of culture, with leaders who listen to the bad news as well as the good and support staff rather than dictating to them.

In contrast to being heckled and jeered at the RCN annual conference in Bournemouth, she received applause when she said the government would not countenance making patients pay top-up fees – ‘that would destroy the values of the NHS’. And she highlighted the need for productivity improvements by reminding managers that every pound wasted is a pound not spent on the values of the NHS.

Ms Hewitt said the reorganisation of strategic health authorities and primary care trusts was designed to make life better for patients, but recognised it is ‘making life very hard’ for those uncertain what role they will have or even if they will have a job.

She also highlighted the importance of the independent sector and others in the ‘NHS family’ of future.

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