A Modernisation Board for the NHS has been set up to steer the 10 year Plan announced last July. Membership of the Board will include doctors, nurses, managers, people from the RCN, UNISON, the BMA and the medical royal colleges. There will also be representatives from patients groups and frontline staff.Other announcements made by Health Secretary Alan Millburn include pledges to create 7000 extra beds and build 100 new hospitals by 2004 and to make progressive cuts in maximum waiting times for hospital treatment from eighteen months to three months.
As Alan Millburn was speaking to the Labour Party Conference, Colin Strachan, a vascular surgeon from Brighton, warned that every intensive care bed in Brighton is currently full, but this is not unusual, it is absolutely commonplace. He expressed the hope that the Health Secretary would be honest about the scale of the challenge facing the health service and recognise that investment must be matched with support for the front line doctors and nurses.