The King's Fund statement on the appointment of Alan Johnson as the new Secretary of State for Health

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Niall Dickson, chief executive of the King's Fund, welcomed Gordon Brown's commitment to maintaining the high priority of health, and the appointment of Alan Johnson as the new Secretary of State for Health. Niall Dickson commented:

'We know that three issues will be among the new Secretary of State's priorities: expect an initiative to provide better access to primary care services at nights and weekends, a renewed assault on hospital-acquired infection and a very welcome attempt to re-engage staff in NHS reforms at local level.

'It is so important that Alan Johnson grasps the narrative of NHS reforms over the last ten years, and commits to build on them rather than embarking on further restructuring.

'He has a chance to address some of the areas where reform has not taken root, for example introducing incentives that reward good health outcomes and increased productivity.

'And he also has an opportunity to develop a clear set of rules for competition in the NHS, so that as the market develops, it is regulated to sustain the NHS and serve the interests of patients.

'As well as concentrating on the continuing reform of our health services we hope he will not forget the other major challenge – the urgent need to find new ways of funding and delivering high quality and personalised social care.'

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.