Conservative Party Conference 2011: Andrew Lansley Says The Fundamental Principles Of The Government's NHS Reforms Have Not Changed
The "fundamental principles" of the coalition government's NHS reforms have not changed despite the pause in the legislation, Health Secretary Andrew Lansley has said.
Speaking to a BBC fringe at the Conservative party conference, he told delegates: “The fundamental principles haven’t changed but we have changed quite a number of things in order to improve and to reassure people. They’re not cosmetic – they’re significant, there are substantive changes."
The Health Secretary said he was happy to make one further change to the controversial NHS bill - by tightening up the legal responsibility the Secretary of State had for the NHS - which "should reassure" Liberal Democrat peer Shirley Williams, who has vowed to fight to change the reforms in the House of Lords.
Lansley also defended his NHS reforms, saying: “We said that we were going to devolve decision-making in the NHS close to the frontline, to doctors and nurses, and that’s what we’re going to do, we said we would give patients more choice and information, it’s what we’re going to do."
He told delegates the plan to reform the NHS were clearly in the Conservative's 2010 general election manifesto:
“If you look in the manifesto it was entirely clear that there was going to be modernisation and change – it’s not a top-down structure that we’re putting in place – it’s a devolved structure.”
However the Secretary of State admitted: “What we didn’t say before the election was that we would necessarily abolish Primary Care Trusts and Strategic Health Authorities. But in truth, as a Coalition... we brought together both our priorities for health and the Liberal Democrats’ priorities for health.”