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Monday 5th December 2016
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Patients must be put first

21st May 2010

Writing in The Telegraph, new health secretary Andrew Lansley stresses the NHS must put patients first.

docstalkingpatientsQ

A health service must serve its patients in a system that bends to fit them, though in recent years the reality has been quite different.

A frustrating example is the closure of A&E and maternity units against the wishes of clinical staff and the communities they are based in.

While the NHS has to change as new opportunities, technologies and treatments arise, there should not be change for change’s sake.

Some closures or reconfigurations of local services are based on disputed or flawed evidence, have lacked real public engagement and do not reflect the choices that patients or GPs would make if they were in control.

I cannot re-open previously concluded processes but with the majority of cases ongoing, we have an opportunity for a new approach.

I now am calling a halt to the current process with this moratorium providing a chance to reconsider every decision and to ensure that in each case they are consistent with the following key criteria: there must be a clinical evidence base underpinning the proposals; support of the GP commissioners involved; they must genuinely promote choice for their patients; and the process must have genuinely engaged the public, patients and local authorities.

It is time we recognised that the headquarters of the NHS is not on Whitehall but where there are patients, doctors and nurses.

Through this moratorium and putting patients and clinicians in control, we are taking an immediate step towards improving outcomes and creating a less centralised, less bureaucratic, stronger NHS.

 

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