Monday, 21 May 2007

Stephen Dorrell talks Health in Rugby

Some time ago Stephen Dorrell MP kindly offered to visit Rugby, so in true Conservative style a fund raising function was arranged, all thanks to Ginny. Learning that Stephen was able to arrive early and that a doctor acquaintance has described him as “the best Secretary of State for Health this country has ever had” I arranged a meeting with local health professionals for a general discussion before the function. It helped that Stephen is joint chairman of the Conservative Party’s Public Services Improvement Policy Group which was set up by David Cameron with a view to looking at ways to improve the services provided in Health which meant that those able to attend would know that their contribution was being listened to by someone able to influence the party’s thinking. And what a wide ranging conversation we had, with about a dozen people attending to talk about the challenge of narrowing the gap between expectations of users; what can efficiently be delivered and equating supply with demand; about ensuring equitable access to health services; about what is a manageable & desirable level of spending; about measuring outcomes rather than inputs; about the consequences of lifestyle choices; about drug rationing; about the possibility of a health service independent of government; about the difference between long term and episodic care; about the economics of healthcare, markets and commissioning & purchasing of care. The discussion was wide ranging and I learnt a great deal. I hope those attending got as much from the meeting as I did.