Conservatives right to make health their number one priority, says The King's Fund

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The King's Fund today welcomed the Conservatives' commitment to making the NHS their number one priority and the debate around an independent NHS.

In a major health speech delivered to The King's Fund today, Conservative leader David Cameron revealed plans to introduce an NHS Independence Bill before Parliament which will offer a statutory framework to take politicians out of the day-to-day running of the NHS.

The King's Fund Chief Executive Niall Dickson said:

'We welcome the Conservatives' commitment to making the NHS a priority. There are few more important issues than the health of the nation and there can rarely have been a more critical period in the health service's 60 year history.

'The idea of a more independent NHS is certainly worth considering and should not be dismissed. But it would be a mistake to believe that this is a panacea or that it will ever be possible to remove politics from a life and death service that consumes £100 billion of public money every year.

'Removing unwanted political interference in the day-to-day operation of the health service is an admirable goal. But at the moment the detail from all the political parties is sketchy - we need to think this through more before deciding that an independent board or agency is the answer.

'Even if we go down that route, there will always be a role for central government in setting the overall funding envelope and for laying down what the taxpayer can expect in terms of standards of care and outcomes from that investment.'

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. Conservative Leader David Cameron, Shadow Health Secretary Andrew Lansley and Stephen Dorrell, who chairs the Conservative’s public services review group with Baroness Perry, were speaking at a Conservative health policy forum hosted by the King’s Fund.
  3. 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.