Health Secretary Andrew Lansley has thanked NHS staff for their work over the last year and reassured them the Health and Social Care Act 'explicitly supports the core principles of the NHS'.
These are: care provided free at the point of use, funded from general taxation, and based on need, not ability to pay.
He also says at the heart of the Act are two simple principles: that patients should share in every decision about their care and that those responsible for patient care should have the ‘freedom and powers to lead an NHS that delivers continually improving care’.
In a letter to NHS staff, Mr Lansley says:
The Health and Social Care Act will, in reality, empower NHS clinicians to determine the type of health services needed in their local area, using their clinical expertise and their knowledge to ensure NHS services meet the needs of patients.
My ambition is for a clinically-led NHS that delivers the best possible care for patients. Politicians should not be able to tell clinicians how to do their jobs. I hope you and your colleagues in the NHS will take advantage of the new freedoms the Act has put in place.’