Shaping Health Care For Next Decade

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A review of the NHS would advise on how to meet the challenges of delivering health care over the next decade.

The review will be led by one of the world's leading surgeons Professor Ara Darzi, the new health Minister, and will report to the Prime Minister, the Chancellor and the Secretary of State for Health before the 60th anniversary of the NHS in July 2008.

There will be an interim assessment in autumn 2007 to inform the Comprehensive Spending Review.

This unprecedented review is an opportunity to ensure that the future of the NHS is clinically led. The review will involve patients, doctors, nurses and other practitioners, and consider how best to continue delivering improvements across the NHS.

Professor Darzi will examine how the NHS can provide better access to safer, high quality care for all, whilst delivering value for money for taxpayers. He will consider the following challenges:

- Working with NHS staff to ensure that clinical decision-making is at the heart of the future of the NHS and the pattern of service delivery

- Improving patient care, including high-quality, joined-up services for those suffering long-term or life-threatening conditions, and ensuring patients are treated with dignity in safe, clean environments

- Delivering more accessible and more convenient care integrated across primary and secondary providers, reflecting best value for money and offering services in the most appropriate settings for patients

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- In time for the 60th anniversary of the NHS, establishing a vision for the next decade of the health service which is based less on central direction and more on patient control, choice and local accountability and which ensures services are responsive to patients and local communities

Prime Minister Gordon Brown said:

"No institution touches the lives of the British people like the NHS. It is part of what makes Britain the place it is. Yet no modern health service that aspires to respond to its citizen's needs and expectations can afford to stand still. I believe we need to listen to patients experience and expectations to forge a new partnership with doctors, nurses and other practitioners and together produce a way forward that will lead to an NHS that is changing to be truly patient-led and ever more responsive to their needs."

"Lasting change can only come from clinicians and staff. We need to do much more to empower staff, to give them the time with patients that they need to improve care, to put them in the lead in developing ideas on improving patient-care, and to respect their professionalism. The review will undertake an unprecedented process of engagement and consultation with NHS staff up and down the country in order to establish how best to involve them in the change we want to deliver in the NHS."

"In facing up to the challenges of the future, we must remain true to the values of the NHS - free at the point of use, open to all, rooted in the British belief in fairness and compassion. It is on this basis that I think we can move forward together to create a world-class health service for Britain."

Alan Johnson, Health Secretary said:

"The last ten years have seen huge improvements in the NHS and thanks to record investment and measures to raise standards, nine out of ten patients rate their care as good to excellent. That is a huge achievement by staff. But the NHS cannot stand still. Rising expectations and new technology mean that the time is now right to look ahead to the next decade. What was right for the last decade - top down targets and important but sometimes difficult reforms - will not be right for the next where more local decision-making and staff empowerment need to drive the NHS.

"This review will set out the next stage for the NHS and ensure that our spending priorities reflect the needs of patients and enable us to establish a new and lasting settlement for a publicly funded and locally accountable NHS for the decade ahead."

At the end of the Review the Government will consider the case for a new NHS Constitution.

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