Nuffield Trust statement: Response to Ed Miliband speech on the NHS

Nuffield Trust Chief Executive, Nigel Edwards, responds to Ed Milibands speech on the NHS.

Press release

Published: 12/05/2014

Commenting on Ed Miliband’s speech on the NHS, Nuffield Trust Chief Executive Nigel Edwards said:

“Labour’s plan to give patients a range of new options to access their family doctor makes sense.

"People’s needs vary from situation to situation: a parent whose child is developing concerning symptoms will need to see or speak to a GP far quicker than someone with a routine issue caused by a long-term condition. So recognising that the 48-hour target is not a one-size-fits-all model is welcome.

“But solving the problems of general practice is not just about getting people through the door. We need fundamental change to primary care that enables GPs and their teams to assume 24/7 responsibility for co-ordinating people's care, supported by a network of other professionals like pharmacists, hospital specialists, and social workers.

“Such a change won’t come about by tweaking regulations and tinkering with targets. Instead politicians should allow local innovation within a clear set of aims for general practice. These aims should include: listening more to patients, protecting the interests of vulnerable people living in care homes and taking responsibility for healthier communities overall.

“By focusing on top-down changes, these proposals hint towards another NHS reorganisation. Locally driven solutions are the best way to achieve effective change to primary care.”