The King's Fund reaction to the Secretary of State for Health's statement on the NHS

Niall Dickson, chief executive of the King's Fund, welcomed Alan Johnson's announcement that there will be no more centrally driven NHS reorganisations in England for the foreseeable future and his commitment to working in partnership with staff and patients.

But he warned that the proposed review must be not be a signal to reverse important reforms to the service and that the terms of engagement must be clear.

Niall Dickson commented: 'The Secretary of State's pledge to forge a partnership with the professions is a welcome and constructive move. There is a problem with staff morale and there is a lack of a shared vision about where our health service should be going – engaging staff and constructing that vision is the right thing to do.

'However there are risks. It is important that the government does not raise expectations among staff or the public that cannot be met. There are difficult decisions ahead about where and how care should be provided and there are complex trade-offs to be made.

'To deliver workable recommendations, the review must be driven by local NHS organisations with everything orientated around what is best value care for patients.'

He added: 'The idea of a constitution which could set out the values of the NHS as well as the rights and responsibilities of patients is an interesting one, but ministers are right to reflect on this and await the findings of the review.'

Notes to editors: 

  1. For further information or interviews, please contact the King’s Fund media and public relations office on 020 7307 2585, 020 7307 2632 or 020 7307 2581. An ISDN line is available for interviews on 020 7637 0185.
  2. The King’s Fund is an independent charitable foundation working for better health, especially in London. We carry out research, policy analysis and development activities, working on our own, in partnerships, and through funding. We are a major resource to people working in health and social care, offering leadership development programmes; seminars and workshops; publications; information and library services; and conference and meeting facilities.