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Johnson announces "unprecedented" NHS review

The new Health Secretary Alan Johnson is already making his mark, announcing today plans to carry out a review of the NHS which is the first of its kind in UK history.

Johnson has asked Health Minister Ara Darzi to lead the review and report back his findings before July next year.

The review will tackle patients, doctors and nurses with the aim of ensuring that clinical decision making is central to the future of the NHS.  

Darzi is to examine how the NHS can provide better access to safer, higher quality care while still delivering "value for money" for taxpayers.

It is indicated that Darzi will consider delivering more accessible and convinent care across both primary and secondary providers.

He also plans to deliver joined up services for those suffering from long-term or life-threatening conditions.

Gordon Brown said: "The review will undertake an unprecedented process of engagement and consultation with NHS staff up and down the country in order to establish how best to involve them in the change we want to deliver in the NHS.

"We need to do much more to empower staff, to give them the time with patients that they need to improve care, to put them in the lead in developing ideas on improving patient care, and to respect their professionalism."

Alan Johnson agreed that the time was right for change, saying: "This review will … enable us to establish a new and lasting settlement for a publicly funded and locally accountable NHS for the decade ahead."

Department of Health

Your comments: (Terms and conditions apply)

"I cannot believe that another review will make one bit of difference. What the NHS needs is more nurses and doctors working in primary and secondary care which I believe will improve patient care and spend less on management. Why are newly qualified nurses unable to find jobs? The government have spent thousands of pounds training these girls for what? There have been so many cut backs in staffing levels that there is no hope of work for them. Those who are employed are run ragged and stressed out with the work load. I hope none of my elderly relatives need hospital care because in my experience of hospital on the receiving end it is down to DIY - care for yourself or your relative or go without as the staff do not have time" - RH, a very busy primary care nurse coming up to retirement but wondering whether to continue or step down.

"Bah humbug! No one has consulted the nurses on the shop floor in the last 10 years so why should we believe it's going to be any different now. Consider this scenario - an out of hours GP paid £100 an hour, watching TV in a room for 6 hours, doing nothing, eating takeaways, then being rude and telling a patient to take 2 paracetamol and see their GP in the morning. Same shift - a nurse practitioner on band 5 seeing, treating and discharging the patient for whom she voices her concerns to the doctor, is told to get on with her job and not to bother him until he has finished his supper. However, this same nurse practioner has been on shift for 5 hours, three to go with no chance of a meal. Staff meals do not exist, the sandwich machine is always empty, with only chocolate, crisps and fizzy drinks available. At the end of the shift there's nowhere open to get a hot meal as it is too late. In this shift she has seen four patients' minor ailments (who should have seen their GP), one dental problem, plus minor injuries. Take home pay for this shift approx £70.00. Where is the equality of work and working together for the benefit of the patient?" - Name and address supplied

"Dear Mr Brown, The NHS needs selling off, gone are the days the NHS can be free. It gobbles up money faster than it's made. Sell the PCTs to private buisness. Tesco 24-hour shopping and healthcare all in the same superstore. This will sound diabolical to many people, let's face it, picking up your contraceptives, travel vacs and monitoring long-term conditions could be free! Why? Because the customer-patient will spend their money there. Open the surgeries at weekends in Tesco, provide 24-hour instore healthcare and save yourself and us a review." - Name and address supplied

"I'm tired of hearing about reviews after reviews. I work in Islington as a community nurse (district nursing) and we are continually been given more responsibilites and there's never any time to catch up with paperwork, including assessment, care plans, referrals which is all absolutely necessary for patient care. There's too much demand on staff to carry out patient care but this is being put at risk due to pressure of work and meeting deadlines. We are not even being paid a decent salary. I start work at 8.30 am and most times I do not get a break until after 14.00 due to the demand of patient care. We are being told to manage our time but should you do a half job to manage your time? What about our accountability? - Name and address supplied

"Yeah yeah yeah yeah, we have heard it all before. This government has not listened to us so far, do they REALLY think we believe them this time? Things are going from bad to worse and after 20 years in the front line of the health service I have never known it so bad! Nurses are scrabbling for jobs and overtime just to make ends meet. I have found myself starting afresh as an emergency care practitioner with the ambulance service and after 20 years experience as an autonomous practitioner, a degree and independent nurse prescribing, they are only able to pay me bottom band 5 for this post! Last month I took home the princely sum of £920, not enough to cover my outgoings let alone eat! It's either this or working in Tesco, and I am seriously considering Tesco - probably less bureaucracy and sanctimonious managers and more gratitude from the public!" - BL, a badly exploited nurse scratching around for a living

"What is the point of all of the previous statistics that have been sent up to the Department of Health by acute and community trusts - the government has all the information and instead of funding more bureaucratic reviews should cut management budgets and pay nurses the full pay award. It is yet more spin to take our eye off the last soul destroying year" - Gill, London nurse having to do overtime shifts to meet the bills