Department of Health and Social Care
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Government launches NHS listening exercise

Prime Minister David Cameron, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, and Health Secretary Andrew Lansley today launched the Government’s listening exercise on NHS modernisation.

Setting out the Government’s desire to modernise the NHS with the support of patients, the public and health professionals, Andrew Lansley today announced that engagement over the coming weeks will focus on:

  • 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; and
  • How advice from across a range of healthcare professions can improve patient care.

Speaking at the launch, Prime Minister David Cameron 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 Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said:

“The NHS is our most cherished national institution and this Government will never waver from the basic principle that you get treatment when you need it. Not when you can afford it. At the heart of our reforms are some simple common sense ideas – less bureaucracy, more power to local communities and more responsibility to those who know most about their patients. These ideas stay true to the vision of the founders of the NHS.

“But there are concerns that need to be addressed and some people have come forward with good proposals to improve our plans. That is why we are taking the time to pause and listen so we can build a better NHS for the future.”

Andrew Lansley today also announced that 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 Practitioners 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.

Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said:

“Good progress has been made so far in modernising the NHS, such as the 6,500 GP practices and 90 per cent of local authorities signing up to play their part in improving services for patients.

“We are taking the opportunity of a natural break in the passage of the Bill to pause, listen, reflect and improve. This will help realise our ultimate goal of modernising the NHS to protect it for the future.

“This is an opportunity for people to share their views and have their voices heard."

Steve Field, the Chair of the new NHS Future Forum said:

"It’s a great pleasure to chair the NHS Future Forum.   Listening to people on the ground is vital, and I see this as a real chance for people to have their say in shaping the future of the NHS."

Patients and the public wishing to leave their own feedback and find out more about the Government’s modernisation plans can visit

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