Our plans mean the NHS you know and love will be safe and secured not just for you, but for your children too.
When I became Prime Minister, I made a few promises to myself: Not to go native and forget what people care about and not to stick stubbornly to a course if it wasn’t the right thing to do.
In holding an unprecedented listening exercise on the NHS, I believe I’ve stayed true to both.
It was clear earlier this year that some of the people who work in our NHS were concerned about our plans. We were hearing that our direction of travel was right - more choice and control for patients, more freedom and power for professionals, less mind-numbing bureaucracy - but yes, some of the details were wrong.
So we had a choice. We could have ridden roughshod over people’s concerns - but frankly, that is not the action of the sort of government I want to lead.
We could have ditched our plans altogether - but given the monumental financial challenges the NHS faces, with an ageing population and rising treatment costs, not to reform at all would have been a dereliction of duty. So we paused, we took time out to reflect and get this absolutely right.
Over ten weeks we spoke to thousands of doctors, nurses and patients at hundreds of events. Where changes needed to be made, we’ve made them. We were told that nurses and hospital doctors, and not just GPs, should be involved in commissioning services - so we’re doing that.
We were told that competition shouldn’t be there for its own sake, but used to improve patient choice and the results of their treatment - so we’re putting in safeguards to make sure that’s the case.
But I know beyond all this detail on policy and process, Daily Mail readers are wondering about the bigger picture: What these plans really mean for you. So, let me tell you.
First, our plans mean the NHS you know and love will be safe and secured not just for you, but for your children too. Without modernisation, we would see a bigger and bigger black hole develop in the budget and the principle we all hold dear - that the NHS is free to all who need it, when they need it - becoming unaffordable.
I don’t want that. You don’t want that. And our reforms mean that won’t happen.
Second, our plans mean you’ll have much greater choice. In too many cases today, people have to take what they’re given instead of choosing what they want.
Our plans change that. You, the patient, will have more control over where and how you get treated. So if you’re being treated for cancer and you want to have your drug treatment at home at a time that suits you - you’ll have that choice. You will be in the driving seat.
Third, our plans will mean you’re going to have access to the best. Why? Because as well as giving you more choice, we’re giving you more information. You’ll be able to go online and see how hospitals are performing.
And armed with that information you’re going to be able to seek out the best treatments in your area.
Fourth, our plans will mean a more seamless journey through the Health Service.
Currently, patients can get fed up with a merry-go-round of different appointments with different doctors all discussing the same thing. Our plans will break down these barriers and get doctors and nurses from different parts of the NHS talking to each other to get the best for you.
Our plans to put spending power in the hands of you, your GP and your specialist doctors mean that together you’ll be able to design a package of care that suits you, your condition and your life.
Pausing our plans and holding a listening exercise might not be in the text-book for governments, but I think this says positive things about the Coalition.
The steps we’re taking today will safeguard the Health Service we love tomorrow - and in the years to come.