Dear Richard, Thank you for your letter of today.
I have been clear in our several conversations, and in my conversations with Lord Darzi, that many of the things achieved through the Healthcare for London programme are entirely consistent with my vision for improved healthcare in the capital and indeed the country at large.
As I said when we met last week, in our meeting before the election, and indeed in the debate in the House in March, my view is that the Healthcare for London approach should be to set out a range of innovative and challenging solutions for how to improve the quality of care and outcomes for patients and service users rights across London. Neither the Government nor NHS London should dictate the decisions made. The decisions that patients make through choice, and which GPs make through commissioning, should not be pre-empted from on high.
When I announced last week the halting of the Healthcare for London changes, I also issued a challenge to NHS London to engage patients, GPs as commissioners, and local authorities, more directly in putting plans in place. To that extent, London has the opportunity to lead the NHS in the future development of quality improvement strategies, with NHS London supporting the decisions made in each area across London.
I am sorry if on reflection you do not wish to continue to lead NHS London as it takes on this challenge. May I thank you for your contribution to the NHS in London as Chair of the Strategic Health Authority and offer you my best wishes for the future.