Next stage review of health service to involve all workers

Written By: Tribune web editor
Published: September 26, 2007 Last modified: September 26, 2007

by Keith Richmond

HEALTH Secretary Alan Johnson says he wants the Next Stage Review of the NHS to include “everyone involved in the health service” to help tackle the “new challenges of an ageing population and rising expectations”.

Mr Johnson told conference: “This is an unprecedented opportunity to shape an NHS which is clinically-led and locally-driven and focused on a personalised service for the patient. And to achieve this, the Government needs to get behind health staff, not stand in their way. Because their public service ethos is the life force of the NHS.”

He promised 1,000 extra midwives by 2009 and more after that if birth rates continue to rise. He pledged personal safety alarms to NHS staff as part of a £97 million boost for NHS security. And he said GP surgeries should be open at times to suit the patient, not the practice.

Mr Johnson said Labour is determined to tackle inequalities in healthcare. “There can be no more chilling example of inequality than someone’s place of birth determining the timing of their death. But a woman from the poorest social class is 19 times more likely to die in childbirth than someone from the richest.”
Unison general secretary Dave Prentis said: “It was very refreshing to hear a health secretary talk about real issues. I sense a welcome – and long overdue – change of tone. We were really pleased that Alan made no mention of markets, competition and choice in improving our health service.”