We must renew the NHS to save it

Sir David Nicholson, NHS England’s chief executive, has said the health service must adapt to survive.

Writing for The Guardian as the NHS marked its 65 anniversary, Sir David describes the service as “one of the UK’s greatest achievements” but added that for Aneurin Bevan’s revolutionary vision to continue to thrive for generations to come, it must focus on renewing itself.

The NHS now touches a million people every 36 hours, saving and improving lives in ways that its founders can scarcely have imagined,” he adds: “But we must also focus on renewing the NHS so it can stay true to its founding principles for the next 65 years. The world moves on and all institutions must adapt to survive.

“The expectations of our patients are changing as technology empowers us all through better information. This is a good thing and openness and transparency needs to be at the forefront of what we are trying to do.

“Culturally, this is one of the biggest things to happen to the health service in decade. The recent publication of mortality rates for individual hospital consultants was a major breakthrough in NHS transparency. And there is more to come.

“To ensure the NHS is fit for the future we must build a positive culture and stay true to our fundamental purpose. We must invest in patient power, and change our services to meet the needs of today’s patients.”

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