HL Deb 24 June 2002 vol 636 cc122-3WA
Baroness Noakes

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they agree with the view of the head of the National Health Service Clincial Governance Support Team reported in the Health Service Journal on 30 May that the Nation al Health Service is not patient-centred. [HL4662]

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath

We recognise that the National Health Service over many years has suffered from a lack of national standards, outdated barriers preventing the NHS getting the best out of its dedicated staff, no independent inspection system, and—too often—by the NHS not putting the needs of patients first. It is not surprising, therefore, that the NHS Clincial Governance Support Team found examples where services were not patient-centered.

However a set of policies, programmes and structures were introduced in 1997 to improve the quality of care and patient safety.

This programme was first set out in the White Paper The New NHS: modern and dependable. It was developed further in A First Class Service: Quality in the new NHS which identified three main themes for improving quality in the NHS; clear national quality standards, ensuring local delivery and systems for monitoring delivery. The programme was then expanded and strengethed in the NHS Plan which was published in 2000.

The NHS Plan takes the quality agenda further, emphasising improving customer service and patient/citizen representation. The NHS Plan is about doing things differently: new ways of working, partnership and inclusivity, placing the patient at the heart of everything that we do. It is, in a very real sense, a chance to prove that a universal public service can deliver what people expect in today's world.

Delivering the NHS Plan—next steps on investment, next steps on reform (April 2002) sets out how we will ensure that the extra money agreed in the 2002 Budget is spent to best effect in improving the health and wellbeing of the country.