Andrew Lansley speech in full

Read Andrew Lansley's speech to the Conservative party conference in full on

Let me tell you about the NHS today.

Today, a million people will visit their General Practice.

Today, over two million prescriptions will be filled.

Some 40,000 diagnostic tests.

· 30,000 operations,
· 50,000 visits to A&E,
· 20,000 ambulance call-outs,
· 2000 babies being born.

Behind those statistics, lie the skill, the dedication and the care of NHS staff for their patients, today, tomorrow, every day.

I see what they do. We all of us know how much NHS staff do for us and I want to thank them; I know we all want to thank them.

They are there for us and we have demonstrated, with the NHS as our number 1 priority, that we will be there for them.

Of course, there are so many professions in the NHS. But nurses are at the heart of healthcare.

It is nurses who are responsible for the care and experience of patients on their ward.

Nursing requires skills but also the right aptitude and the right attitude.

We have all heard about problems in nursing. But patients tell me that the standard of care they receive is generally high. So we must tackle the problems and support nurses to raise standards.

We have to give nurses time to care.

To cut out the bureaucracy.

To root out bad practice.

Let me give you one measure which I look at.

The NHS staff survey asks hospital staff whether, if a friend or relative needed treatment, they would be happy with the standard of care provided by their Trust.

Some of the results are pretty impressive.

Here in Manchester, for example, at the Christie, 91% of staff agreed or strongly agreed.

For most hospitals, over two thirds agreed. But in 14 hospital Trusts, fewer than half agreed. Just think about that. Fewer than half willing to say their hospital would be good enough for their own family.


If the standards in a hospital are not good enough for their families, why are they accepted for their patients?

That is one reason why, earlier this year I asked the Care Quality Commission to make nurse-led unannounced inspections in hospitals. And it is why we will publish more and better information about the quality and results achieved in our NHS and our hospitals. Why we will act, time and again, to protect and promote higher standards.

To be clear about professional standards, too, I am determined that doctors who come from overseas to work here must not only have the right qualifications, but also the language skills needed to practice here.

This is not about discriminating; we’ve always appreciated how much overseas doctors and nurses give to our NHS. It is simply about our absolute commitment to put patients’ safety first.

So I can tell conference today that we will change the law to ensure that any doctor from overseas who doesn’t have a proper level of English will not be able to treat patients in our NHS.

NHS staff don’t need politicians telling them how to do their job. But we do need to tell people how well we are doing and how well we could be doing.

That means measuring and publishing information on the outcomes they achieve for patients.


In some areas, we know we do well. Our cardiac surgeons’ results over recent years have risen to the best in Europe. And the NHS is leading internationally in screening and prevention of blood clots in hospitals.

But we also know that in other areas, we do badly: at diagnosing cancers early; at diagnosing dementia and in deaths from lung disease. Also, as the Royal College of Surgeons highlighted last week, doing poorly in managing high-risk patients following emergency abdominal surgery.

It is equally important to know how treatment varies inside the NHS.

For example, in April, we published the rates of death following bowel cancer surgery. Average 5.8%, highest 15.6%. The lowest here in Manchester – just 1.7%.

By publishing more performance data, by being clear who is doing well and badly, we will raise the performance of the rest to the level of the best.

Over the last year, we are delivering on the promises we made to the British people.

We said the NHS would be our top priority, and we are committed to increase the NHS budget in real terms every year. That means £12 ½ billion extra, by 2015.


Labour’s plans would have meant cutting the NHS by £30 billion over that period. Just think about the damage that would do.

This government – our government – is investing in our NHS.

We are investing in prevention:

· With new campaigns to promote awareness of cancer, and almost 200,000 more diagnostic tests every year
· New technologies in bowel cancer screening, set to save 3,000 lives a year
· And new programmes to screen for potentially fatal artery problems.

We are investing in care:

· With £400 million to give carers the short breaks they need
· Thousands more people with mental health problems able to access talking therapies
· And £70 million to support the work done by our hospice movement

We are investing for the future:
· With hundreds more midwives
· Thousands of new health visitors
· £4 billion for health research and development, including £45 million developing new and cutting-edge treatments into childhood diseases


And unlike Labour, we will make sure that every penny of our investment goes directly to benefit patients, not the huge Labour bureaucracy we inherited.
· That is why we are reducing the number of quangos by a third
· That is why we have slashed spend on management consultancy by more than 50%
· That is why we have abolished the centralised NHS IT programme, and saved £1.3 billion.

And all that is why, since the election, we now have 1,500 more doctors and 5,000 fewer managers in the NHS.

Doctors and nurses will be leading in our NHS, and now, in 97% of the country, they are already formed into groups that will take over the job of commissioning NHS services from top-down administrators.

Local councillors are also pressing forward with creating health and wellbeing boards – covering 95% of the country – which will give local people a real say over how their health services are organised.

We are also helping people live healthier lives – not through nannying or regulating through the state, but by taking a shared responsibility for improving our nation’s health with the 300 partners from business and the voluntary sector who have signed up already to our Responsibility Deal.

· We are extending calorie labelling on our restaurant menus
· We are cutting salt in food by 15%
· We are making unit labelling the norm on alcoholic drinks.
· And we will eliminate artificial transfats in our food by the end of the year.

And while we are doing all that, we are improving care for patients all the time:

· Waiting times are down – from an average of 8.4 weeks at the Election to 8.2 weeks when last measured in July
· Hospital infections now at their lowest levels ever
· Almost ¾ million more people with access to an NHS dentist
· 1.8 million people able to access a new urgent care service by dialling 111 when they need to see a doctor

And, I can tell you today, Conference, that within 18 months we will offer access to the NHS 111 service everywhere in England, on the phone and online: the care you need, when you need it, 24/7.

And, let me tell you that the NHS has dramatically curbed the scandal of mixed-sex accommodation by over 90% in just the last eight months – finally, after years of Labour neglect, people having to stay in mixed-sex wards is becoming a thing of the past.


Labour say the NHS is going backwards. They should tell that to the 5,000 patients who today have access to the drugs they need through the Cancer Drugs Fund our Government has introduced.

The Cancer Drugs Fund gives people life, hope and time.

It is a measure of our compassion as a society, that we will not let patients down, when we know there are drugs which may work for them. And that is why I can announce today a new programme to give doctors better information about drugs for rare diseases, further improving access to these vital treatments.

In England now there are new cancer drugs available to patients, which are not available on the NHS in Wales.

Yes, in Wales, run by a Labour Government.

Don’t listen to the absurd inventions of Labour on the NHS, when you can look and see what Labour in power means to the NHS in Wales.

In Wales, NHS budgets cut by more than 8 per cent over 3 years.

In England, we are increasing the NHS budget in real terms, each year.

In England, the NHS treats over 9 out of 10 patients within 18 weeks. In Wales, it is barely 7 out of 10.


Do you know, in Wales, deaths from the infection, Clostridium-difficile, four years ago were the same as in England? Now, in Wales, they are twice as high as in England.

Labour should stop scaremongering about the NHS in England and start adopting in Wales the changes we are making. The people of Wales deserve better.

We know, in Wales or in England –

You simply can’t trust Labour on the NHS.

In England, we are delivering for patients; while Labour just use the NHS as a political football.

We won’t let them; we’ll always fight for the NHS.

I am proud of how our health team is doing just that.

Simon Burns, Health Minister; Anne Milton on Public Health; Freddie Howe in the Lords; plus Paul Burstow as Care Services minister.

If you want an example of how the Coalition is working together, then our team, with Paul as a member, involved in all the decisions, is a great example. We are modernising the NHS together in Coalition; we will also reform social care so that health and social care work together to provide safety and security to people when they are most vulnerable.

We have all fought together this year. Against misinterpretation, misinformation and misrepresentation from Labour and the left-wing unions about the plans we set out in our Health Bill.

Bringing change to the NHS has not been easy, but it has been the right thing to do. Because change means a better NHS for everyone.

We have always been absolutely clear. We are committed to the values of the NHS. To a comprehensive, high-quality service for all, free at the point of use and based on need, not ability to pay.

The Health Bill will safeguard those values.

And it will also improve quality, reduce health inequalities, empower patients and staff, improve local accountability and strengthen public health services.

To reassure people that our Health Bill is right for patients and the NHS, we asked a group of the country’s top experts, the NHS Future Forum, to assess it and we made the changes they proposed. So that competition is on quality, not price; to ensure the continuity of services for patients; to support education and training; and to strengthen integrated care.

But the fundamental principles remain:


· Focusing on the outcomes and results we want the NHS to achieve for patients
· Doctors and nurses, leading on designing services for their patients
· Putting prevention at the heart of health services;
· And most of all, more choice and control for patients over the care they receive.

‘No decision about me, without me.’

And to underline that commitment, today I can announce, we will offer personal health budgets to the 50,000 people eligible for NHS Continuing Care. Budgets that will give them more control over how their needs are met, allowing them to choose support and services that suit them and their families.

Truly, putting patients at the heart of care.

Labour and their trade union puppet-masters can push out their ludicrous lies all they like, and we will fight back with the facts.

And I do want to say an immense ‘thank you’ to you – Conservatives, in Parliament and across the country, who have consistently supported our plans to modernise the NHS and safeguard it for the future.

At the last election, only this party was committed to real terms budget increases for the NHS.


David’s personal commitment to the NHS has never wavered.

You all know my commitment to the National Health Service. While I am Secretary of State, the NHS will never be fragmented, privatised or undermined. I am personally committed to an NHS which gives equal access, and excellent care.

I am passionate about improving the quality of care through the NHS.

And I know the NHS will take the freedoms and opportunities we offer to provide healthcare to the people of this country amongst the very best in the world.

That’s our priority.

Our mission.

My passion.

Thank you.