Tom Smith on today’s health policy debate.
Following on from an interview with the Guardian newspaper today, Alan Johnson gave the keynote speech on the first day of the NHS Confederation conference – the biggest they have ever held in terms of numbers registered. The Secretary of State said he could not reveal the contents of Darzi’s Next Steps review, but could show “a bit of leg”. He talked about the importance of “compassion” and said efforts would be made to measure it, as nurses had encouraged him to. Like most days, his speech may get the evening headlines, but the morning papers were concerned with new figures on cancer mortality, suggesting wide health inequalities – a subject Johnson touched upon. The papers also contained reaction to Alan Johnson’s statement yesterday that the ban on co-payments will be reviewed. But before getting to those things, this review starts with the front page of the Times, which was very concerned about the implications for rising inflation on the costs ofthe NHS.