The NHS is suffering from a "credibility crunch" in which a "managerial/clinican apartheid" is damaging trust, according to the NHS Alliance chief.
Speaking yesterday (16 October 2008) at the NHS Alliance annual conference, Dr Michael Dixon (pictured) said: "NHS regions and PCTs are in danger of losing credibility with clinicians. GPs are losing credibility with the Department of Health. And the entire NHS is losing credibility with the public."
It is imperative to change this, Dr Dixon said, by creating "a system that reflects the selflessness of the NHS concept itself.
"Our NHS must make all its clinicians, all its managers and all its patients feel like VIPs – not people on the receiving end of cant, invective or self-congratulation from others," he said.
"In practical terms, we must recognise that primary care holds the key to better health outcomes, fewer unnecessary deaths and reducing costs. The key is a primary care-led NHS.
"And let's not forget that the Commonwealth Fund research confirmed that British primary care is the best in the world."
Dr Dixon also said: "We have to break down the managerial/clinician apartheid that is currently doing so much damage to trust – and preventing effective implementation of important objectives. That means that if the frontline is expected to change, then so must the centre.
"And finally, we have to make sure the NHS is properly accountable to the public in every city, every town and every locality. Genuine public and patient involvement – with teeth."