In the News: Call for NHS to improve local care

The new chief executive of the NHS, Simon Stevens, has said that the NHS must end mass centralisation and improve the local services it offers. According to the news, the new boss, who started in the role last month, said that too many elderly patients were being robbed of their dignity because of a lack of local care.

Mr Stevens took over from Sir David Nicholson, who retired in the wake of the Mid-Staffordshire hospital scandal. Stevens previously acted as a health advisor to Tony Blair when he was prime minister and has been regarded as David Cameron's preferred candidate for the role.

In an interview with the Daily Telegraph on Friday, Stevens said: "You cannot have a modern health service that is not treating older patients with dignity and compassion, supporting them at home and ensuring targeted prevention [of ill health]."

There is a big opportunity to reorganise that so it meets the needs of those at home. At the moment it is too complicated and too fragmented. If you were starting from scratch you would not design community services like that."

He blamed the European working time directive for making it more difficult for small hospitals to remain open, and argued that the waiting time targets introduced under Labour - which the NHS have failed to meet this year – became an impediment to care in many cases.

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