Headlines: June 29th, 2000

There’s a warning that the new National Plan for the NHS may bring with it more opportunity for central control of the service.The warning is given by the Kings Fund at the NHS Confederation Conference taking place this week in Glasgow.

The Kings Fund, a charity speaking up for health improvements for the citizen, is warning this morning (Thursday) in a fringe session that tight control of managers and health professionals is likely to stifle innovation.

It will also make the NHS less able to respond to the needs of local people. Politically, the charity warns, the scheme could raise people’s expectations too high, and backfire.

However the charity does acknowledge that there is room for much improvement, and it urged central government to give managers the time, space and trust to develop new ideas, learn from each other, and update their skills. This won’t happen, the charity warns, if they are forever chasing targets set in Whitehall.

Health Secretary Alan Milburn addresses the conference, entitled ‘Fresh Thinking’, tomorrow (Friday).