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Government should define citizens' health care rights

Call for patient's entitlements to be set out as part of Ten Year Plan.

The Government should make explicit the health care services to which people are entitled in order to consolidate the reforms of the Ten Year Plan, says a new Fabian Society Report Completing the Course: health to 2010 

In an authoritative and comprehensive survey of the current state of health policy, the reports authors Professor Ray Robinson and Ms Anna Dixon, LSE Health and Social Care, argue that the Government should resist the temptation to introduce any new initiatives or structural change and concentrate on achieving the targets set out in the Ten Year Plan.

Ray Robinson said: 'There have been far too many big ideas floating around in recent years. These have led to constant re-disorganisation of the NHS and performance has suffered. We believe that the time has come for consolidation and development within a more stable environment.'

Whilst rejecting further structural changes to the National Health Service, the report argues that - for the first time in NHS history - a positive statement of patients' entitlements could be made by the Government. Currently there is a large degree of discretion about the range of services that are actually provided by the NHS. By spelling out what patients can expect, an entitlements approach could both help connect the taxes people pay to the services they receive and reduce some of the pressure of rising expectations.

Adrian Harvey, deputy general secretary of the Fabian Society said: 'It may seem odd for a think tank to call for fewer bright ideas, but constant policy change can undermine the original goals. There comes a time when some of those ideas need to be implemented. I applaud the long term strategic approach adopted by the Government and hope the Ten Year Plan is given the change to produce results'.


Anna Dixon is available for interview. Contact: 020 7249 3153 (home) or 07720 781150 (mobile) or email anna.dixon@doh.gsi.gov.uk|

For more information, contact Ellie Levenson, editorial manager, on 020 7227 4901 (work) or 07789 656898 (mobile) or email ellie.levenson@fabian-society.org.uk| 


Completing the Course by Ray Robinson and Anna Dixon is published by the Fabian Society from Thursday 16 January, priced £6.95. Pdf versions of the report are available on request.

Ray Robinson is Professor of Health Policy at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) and a senior fellow with the European Observatory on Health Care Systems.

Anna Dixon is a lecturer in European health policy at LSE and research officer at the European Observatory on Health Care Systems.

The Fabian Society is the UK's only membership base left of centre think tank. Providing an arena for open-minded debate, the Society's programme aims to explore the political ideas and the policy reforms that will define progressive politics in the future.

20 January 2003