Research Project

Localising the National Health Service: gaining greater equity through localism and diversity

Geared towards devolving greater decision-making to front line managers, local communities and locally elected representatives, the roots of ‘new localism’ within local government have now spread. Informing policy debates about crime prevention and education funding, they have also been apparent within government proposals to reform the NHS. Attempts to develop new, localised approaches and structures for the delivery and accountability of health care, have given rise to a charged debate over the future of what some still consider a sacred cow of UK life.

In this new pamphlet, Rt Hon John Reid MP, Secretary of State for Health explains why for more than 50 years an emphasis on uniform national service provision in health – and elsewhere – has sold many people short and not led to greater equity. Localising the National Health Service also considers how an increased sense of local identity is feeding expectations about the local bodies that deliver public services, be they Town Hall, school or hospital.

In outlining specific proposals for increased local ‘ownership’ of health care, the Health Secretary makes his case for establishing a more localised national health service – locally driven, locally responsive and locally accountable.