The NHS Alliance leader has said it is time the NHS focused on personalised services that meets patients' needs, and that giving choices to patients will only be meaningful if they are given choices that are suitable for them.
Speaking at today's British Association of Medical Managers conference, Dr Michael Dixon, chair of the NHS Alliance, has said the NHS and its clinicians need to invest in the "H factor" ("human factor") and push for more personalised services.
Dr Dixon, who has been a GP for almost 25 years and is a visiting professor at the University of Westminster, said:
"You can lead a horse to water but you cannot make it drink. Central targets, national guidelines, market forces and financial incentives have all led the NHS horse to the water and may have improved overall care but they cannot, on their own, ensure that any individual patient gets what he or she wants or needs.
"The essence of 'H factor' is a frontline clinician with sufficient altruism, autonomy, personal skills and engagement with the patient."
The recent Commonwealth Fund Report (May 2007) puts the UK top overall as a healthcare system compared to all developed English speaking countries and top in terms of cost effectiveness and safety. But the UK is still lagging behind when it comes to personal care.