Headlines: June 28th, 2001

After an election period in which it seemed that doctors and the Government agreed on very little – the two parties have hatched a seven point pledgeof key issues they do agree on.The BMA says the plan was formed largely from one of its own documents, and warns that while it welcomes the joint commitment – patients and voterswill judge the service on results not commitments.

The pledge appears to set out a blueprint for the changing the whole culture of the current NHS, particularly in setting out a fresh start for the relationship between manager and clinician.

The document pledges the Government, the medical profession and the NHS to

-commitment from the top to quality assurance and quality improvement

-to involve patients and their representatives in decisions about their care

-to work up valid, reliable, up-to-date information on the quality of health services

-to work together in determining clinical priorities

-to create a culture within the NHS which is open and participative

-to recognise that in a service as large and complex as the NHS things will sometimes go wrong and that honest failure should not be responded to primarily by blame and retribution and

-to recognise that the professions, the Government and the public share a common interest and commitment to improving the quality of services for patients.