Government response

Improving the NHS: response to Unite’s campaign

Response to Unite the Union’s campaign about the NHS.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government


Department of Health’s response to Unite the Union’s campaign, Save our NHS.

The government believes that modernisation of the NHS is necessary, in patients’ interests and is the right thing to do to secure the NHS for future generations. The NHS must keep improving if it is to meet rising public expectations, the demands of an ageing population and the costs of effective new treatments.

Ministers have stated that the government’s reforms are not about privatisation, but about placing the financial power to change health services in the hands of those NHS professionals whom the public trust most, and putting clinicians, rather than politicians, in control of healthcare.

The principles the NHS was founded on will remain as important in the future as they were when the NHS was created: of healthcare free at the point of use, funded from general taxation and available to all based on need rather than the ability to pay. Clinical services will continue to be available on the basis of need, as they are now.

One of the main benefits of the Health and Social Care Act 2012 will be the reduction in administration costs that it delivers, and ministers expect savings to far outstrip the cost of the reforms. The department estimates that savings will total £6.5 billion by next year, all of which will have been re-invested in patient care.

Published 24 July 2014