The Government has launched a "listening exercise" to hear the public's views on NHS modernisation
The listening exercise was launched today by Prime Minister David Cameron, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and Health Secretary Andrew Lansley on a visit to Frimley Park Hospital, Surrey.
Mr Cameron said he passionately believed in the NHS but said “maintaining the status quo was not an option” if it was to cope with the demands of a rapidly ageing population.
The PM said the exercise, which will see events running across the country, was a chance to “pause, listen, reflect and improve on our proposals” and was a genuine chance to make a difference.
The Prime Minister said:
I believe passionately in the NHS. It is our most precious national asset. And it is precisely for this reason that we want to safeguard the NHS for future generations. But we also recognise that there are some big questions about what we’re doing.
This listening exercise is a genuine chance to make a difference. Where there are good suggestions to improve the legislation, those changes will be made. But let me be clear, it is only through modernisation that can we protect the NHS and ensure the country has a truly world-class health service.
The engagement exercise will focus on four key areas over the coming weeks:
- the role of choice and competition for improving quality
- how to ensure public accountability and patient involvement in the new system
- how new arrangements for education and training can support the modernisation process
- how advice from across a range of healthcare professions can improve patient care
The Department of Health also today published a leaflet Working together for a stronger NHS (pdf 1.52mb) setting out why we need change in the NHS.
Alongside the public listening exercise, a new group of patient representatives, doctors and nurses will be brought together to listen and report back to Government.
Chaired by Birmingham GP and former Royal College of General Practioners Chairman Steve Field, the new ‘NHS Future Forum’ will provide a valuable channel for the thoughts and opinions of patients and staff on the ground.