A former NHS chief under Labour has said the government should loosen its control of the health service – a policy put forward by the Tories.
Politicians should take a back seat from day-to-day running of the NHS and focus on "wider issues" such as the ethics of stem-cell research and assisted dying, according to Sir Nigel Crisp (pictured).
The civil servant has experience of both organisations, having been permanent secretary at the Department of Health and NHS Chief Executive between 2000 and 2006.
His comments support Conservative plans to create an independent NHS board to direct control away from the Department of Health.
Government-appointed board members would report to Parliament and be tasked with securing comprehensive health services and delivering diagnosis and treatment improvements.
Sir Nigel said: "For the first time it (the department) and the politicians would be free to concentrate on the wider issues of health rather than on running the NHS."
He suggested these issues could include smoking, water fluoridation, equality of access to services, practitioners and practices regulation, medical ethics, investment in different areas and international considerations.
Your comments (terms and conditions apply):
"Absolutely right! It is so refreshing to hear Sir Nigel Crisp maintaining the consistent stand he has taken on this matter. Few people get to the top and aren't influenced to regurgitate party policy. The sooner we have a proper governing body that manages the health service the better" – Name and address withheld