Government must continue system reforms and resist central directives to achieve Darzi's aims, says The King's Fund

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Commenting on the publication of Lord Darzi's interim report on the Our NHS, Our Future review, The King's Fund chief executive, Niall Dickson said:

'This interim report should be broadly welcomed although, as Lord Darzi himself acknowledges, this is only the halfway point. It is absolutely right that the government recognises the importance of engaging with clinical staff and listening to patients so that they can deliver a world-class NHS focused on the needs of patients rather than of institutions.

'Of particular importance is his commitment to the system reforms introduced so far such as competition, choice, regulation, tariffs and new GP incentives. These are the tools that will have to be used to achieve real change.

'However, ministers must resist the temptation to issue central directives. To create a health system that truly puts patients first, local services need to be responsive to local people and accountable for the outcomes they produce. The future of the NHS doesn’t lie in centrally devised grand plans, but in practical and effective changes around the country at a local level.

'Hospital-acquired infection is a complex problem that is unlikely to be solved by centrally prescribed policies. Any guidance must be based on reliable, rigorous evidence, with operational decisions left to hospital managers and clinicians who are held accountable for the results they deliver'

Notes to editors

  1. For further information or interviews, please contact the King’s Fund press 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.