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Top brass woos primary care


26 May 2011

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The government is trying to support not stifle primary care, assured Secretary of State for Health Andrew Lansley at one of the final events held as part of the government's listening exercise in London yesterday.

With just 48 hours of the listening exercise left to go, health professionals were presented with an all-star line up from the Department of Health at one of the final consultations held in London yesterday.


The government is trying to support not stifle primary care, assured Secretary of State for Health Andrew Lansley at one of the final events held as part of the government's listening exercise in London yesterday.

With just 48 hours of the listening exercise left to go, health professionals were presented with an all-star line up from the Department of Health at one of the final consultations held in London yesterday.

The government is trying to support not stifle primary care, assured Secretary of State for Health Andrew Lansley at one of the final events held as part of the government's listening exercise in London yesterday.

With just 48 hours of the listening exercise left to go, health professionals were presented with an all-star line up from the Department of Health at one of the final consultations held in London yesterday.

Mr Lansley, NHS Chief Executive Sir David Nicholson and Minister of State for Care Services Paul Burstow addressed about 90 doctors, nurses and managers at the event and listened to opinions about how to take the Health Bill forward.

The message from the top was not one of stalling consortia but striking a balance between a Bill that provided enough structure for accountability and transparency but that did not stifle innovation or local solutions.

Mr Lansley, who has been at 27 of the 215 events held as part of the exercise, said: "We are not trying to design a system in Westminster and then put it on you, but support you in the job you have go to do and build in what you want to see."

He highlighted the principles behind the reforms of putting the patient "at the heart of services", measuring and improving outcomes and increasing integration between public health and primary and social care.

"We need a change in the system to move from a production line with patients moving through but where every patient is treated as an individual," he said.

He reiterated that the pause was not about privatisation or charging patients.

"Choice and competition is a means to an end to deliver better care, not an end in itself. Giving patients choice is important… How do we support that and get regulation that supports that in a way you can be confident you can deliver care?

"When the legislation is done, it's done. We've got to get it right. We want to support you and not get in the way but provide accountability and transparency.

"We want to make sure that what we put in place is something you and your colleges will be happy with for years to come."

Sir David Nicholson echoed the message saying that the NHS Board would support consortia not try to catch them out.

"The relationship we are going to have is critical for success. Part of my job is to support and help you be the best consortia you can be not to catch you out.

"We know that really successful, clinically-based commissioning has potential to massively improve outcomes for patients. In our relationship I need to create and environment where we can have that as a reality," he said.

The message was well received by GPs from the Northumberland Commissioning Group.

Dr Eileen Higgins said: "I was really impressed by Andrew Lansley. I did think that maybe he had a hidden agenda to privatise, based historically on governments of the past, but his level of knowledge and the way he spoke to us about the reforms has changed my mind."

Dr David Shovlin said: "It was reassuring to hear what the Secretary of State said, that we will be supported and given the flexibility within the government framework to have a service that will be better for the future and move away from historic top down management style."

However some GPs present remained unconvinced.

A GP from the South of England, who did not wish to be named, said: "They were trying to put words into our mouths to get the answers they wanted on several occasions.

"For example on the question: 'Do we want failing GPs to be dealt with at a board or local level?' our group was split in what we thought but really the impression was they want the commissioning board to deal with it and that's what they listened to.

"What shocked me about today was that they are trying to rush this through in five years to make themselves look good and they haven't finished planning it."

The listening exercise has included more than 200 meetings and events consulting about 4,000 people.

The Department of Health has also sought views online resulting in 1,500 posts, 520 private comment forms, 230 completed questionnaires, 750 email responses and more than 720 letters.

The NHS Future Forum is due to publish its report in the next two weeks after which the government will respond.

 

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