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Andrew Lansley MP sets out a Conservative vision for the NHS that improves outcomes and supports clinical leadership

Andrew Lansley MP sets out a Conservative vision for the NHS that improves outcomes and supports clinical leadership

Speaking at the British Society of Gastroenterology's Annual Meeting in Liverpool today, Andrew Lansley CBE MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Health, reiterated Conservative pledges to protect real terms increases in health spending and called for an National Health Service which involves patients more in shared decision-making and which supports clinicians in delivering quality and improving outcomes.

In his speech to delegates Mr Lansley highlighted four principal means to achieve improved outcomes in the NHS.

On improving the response to public health issues Mr Lansley called for greater investment in prevention and specific budgets to achieve better results. Looking at alcohol specifically, he commented:

"We must look at alcohol abuse as a public health issue and take steps to impact on behaviour and demand as well as the supply of alcohol"

Mr Lansley expressed reservations about implementing a minimum unit price but welcomed the joint British Society of Gastroenterology, Alcohol Health Alliance UK and British Association for the Study of the Liver report on alcohol services as an important contribution on how to improve patient pathways and outcomes in alcohol related disease.

Mr Lansley also called for greater engagement with patients as a means to improve outcomes for patients through access to choice in healthcare:

"Better informed patients have better experiences and outcomes. You as clinicians must embrace shared decision-making; be that in the choice of primary care practitioner; where to get secondary care; the choice of department; or even the choice of physician."

Speaking about how to ensure improved outcomes Mr Lansley called for the abolition of political targets in favour of those based on clinical evidence:

"Quality measures should never be contrary to the best interests of patients. We should abolish politically motivated targets, which distort patient care, and focus on outcomes."

Mr Lansley also called for a re-empowerment of professionals as the "best people to design and improve the service" and a withdrawal of day to day political interference in the NHS, highlighting the public's support for their clinicians. Mr Lansley also criticised the primary-secondary care divide and called for a commissioning process where professionals take responsibility for improved treatment pathways and outcomes.

Notes to Editors

The British Society of Gastroenterology's Annual Meeting is taking place at the Liverpool Arena and Convention Centre (ACC) from the 22 - 25 March 2010. The event is expected to attract over 2,500 delegates from around the world, including research scientists, clinicians, nurses, patients and students.

The British Society of Gastroenterology is an organisation focused on the promotion of high standards for clinical services, research, training and education in gastroenterology and hepatology within the UK. It has over three thousand members drawn from the ranks of physicians, surgeons, pathologists, radiologists, scientists, nurses, dietitians, and others interested in the field. Founded in 1937 it has grown from a club to be a major force in British medicine.

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