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Monday 18th June 2018

NHS independence call rejected

15th June 2007

Patricia Hewitt has rejected proposals to allow the health service to be run by an independent board.

CorridorThe health secretary was speaking about the future of the NHS to the London School of Economics. She faced heckling from campaigners while she gave her speech and protestors stood outside the venue carrying banners reading "SOS NHS" and "NHS not for sale".

In 2006, Gordon Brown was said to be in favour of relinquishing control of the running of the NHS to an independent board. In May the British Medical Association (BMA) said there should be an end to "constant political dabbling" in the NHS, and that an independent board should be established.

Ms Hewitt said: "The NHS is four times the size of the Cuban economy and more centralised...the problem can't be solved by proposing that a modern health service be run like a 1960s nationalised industry."

She said NHS structures should be more "patient led" and that the structures established in the 1940s and 1960s did not apply to the health service in its current state.

She also said that she was in favour of an NHS constitution, which might include standards for NHS patients' behaviour and the public's accountability for their own health.

One of the protestors, Eileen Smith, 75, a former NHS clinical nurse manager said: "I believe healthcare should depend on need and not put profits into people's pockets."


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