Health Secretary Andrew Lansley has thanked NHS staff for their work over the past year and has moved to spell out his ambitions for the organisation going forward.
In the week that the Health and Social Care Act was made law, Lansley wrote a letter to staff telling them that the Act "explicitly supports the core principles of the NHS". These are, he said: care provided free at the point of use, funded from general taxation, and based on need, not ability to pay.
Careful to address concerns raised by many about the future of the NHS, as a result of the Act, Lansley was keen to highlight what he sees as its benefits.
He said: “It will in reality empower NHS clinicians to determine the type of health services needed in their local area, using their clinical expertise and their knowledge to ensure NHS services meet the needs of patients."