The government has set out the four areas that it will focus on during the “listening exercise” launched today.

They are:

  • The role of choice and competition for improving quality
  • How to ensure public accountability and patient involvement in the new system
  • How new arrangements for education and training can support the modernisation process; and
  • How advice from across a range of healthcare professions can improve patient care

Speaking at the launch at Frimley Park Hospital Foundation Trust, prime minister David Cameron said the government would make “real improvements” and “some real changes” to the bill as a result of the exercise.

He said: “This listening exercise is a genuine chance to make a difference. Where there are good suggestions to improve the legislation, those changes will be made. But let me be clear, it is only through modernisation that can we protect the NHS and ensure the country has a truly world-class health service.”

Health secretary Andrew Lansley also spoke of the need to “drive forwards with our mission” while ensuring “everyone feels comfortable with the overall direction of travel”.

He told the audience of NHS staff and journalists: “We are taking the opportunity of a natural break in the passage of the bill to pause, listen, reflect and improve. This will help realise our ultimate goal of modernising the NHS to protect it for the future.”