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Comment on first speech from the new Health Secretary

Author:The Patients Association
Date Added:09 October 2012

On Tuesday 9th October the new Health Secretary made his first speech in the role to the Conservative Party Conference. 

Katherine Murphy, Chief Executive of The Patients Association, said

“Jeremy Hunt’s first speech as Health Secretary was important in that he pledged his commitment to meeting one of the biggest challenges facing the NHS – providing the best possible standards of care for an ageing population. The Patients Association has been campaigning for dignity and compassion since it was founded almost 50 years ago, our helpline hears from patients every day who simply have not had the care they deserve. Improving this must be the driving mission of the NHS. Where this does not happen or where care falls short NHS managers must be made more accountable. 

The commitment to implementing the Dillnot cap on funding social care is the right one, but what patients and the public want to know is when this essential step will be taken. The Patients Association also welcomes any technological progress which provides new opportunities for patients to access information and advice about their care in different ways.

But the Health Secretary has left some key questions unanswered such as when he will implement the Dillnot cap, how he will ensure managers are held accountable for poor care, what will he do to address poor mortality rates and whether  the culture change on information will be accompanied by the investment required. The priority for patients is high quality NHS services defined by shared decision making, the new Health Secretary must make delivering this his priority too.”

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