Karen Caines, director, Institute of Health Services Management

'I welcome what the prime minister was saying. We are very much in favour of putting quality at the forefront of the things the public wants done.

'The talk about money is welcome, but we still need to know how much there is going to be. The challenge fund is a very interesting idea. But the service needs 3-4 per cent a year to stand still.

'We will need more than that. If there is not sufficient money to bring in more staff and buy time to be creative then we will not have the chance to do all the things the prime minister was talking about.'

Donald Reid, chief executive, Association for Public Health

'It was very disappointing. Apart from the reference to banning tobacco advertising we heard nothing about how the government plans to build up public health.'

Julia Neuberger, chief executive, King's Fund

'Sustainable sources of new funding are excellent news for the NHS, but it should not be frittered away on waiting lists. The new money should be focused on areas of greatest need and services which can make the greatest difference.'

Christine Outram, chief executive, Enfield and Haringey health authority

'I welcome the commitment the prime minister made. I cannot remember the last time a prime minister addressed managers, so the fact that he did so is very important. There is a cautious welcome for the money, because we want to see how much there is and what it will be tied to.'

Frank Burns, director, Information Management Group, NHS Executive

'I am delighted by what the prime minister had to say about creating a modernisation fund. It should mean more money to implement the IT strategy we are planning to publish soon.'

Ken Jarrrold , chief executive, County Durham HA

'It was a low-key and serious speech and we will wait with great interest to see exactly how much money is available and how much will be available for service development.

'I agree absolutely with Julia Neuberger that it is not enough for it to go on waiting lists and purely populist measures.'

Mike Marchment, chief executive, Warwickshire HA

'I have waited five years or more for this. I would have been delighted to see the secretary of state saying things like: 'I am committed to a publicly funded NHS.' To hear a prime minister say it was a lifetime experience.

'I think it is a tribute to the NHS that it has the confidence of a radical prime minister. He has thrown down the gauntlet - it is up to us to pick it up. HSJ will be full of cynics. I am happy to be one of the enthusiasts.'

Rod Halls, chief executive, Winchester and Eastleigh trust

'I think it was a speech very much in tune with the mood of the conference and the times. We need to know what the funding is actually going to be. But a promise of recurrent funding is welcome because recurrent funding makes it much easier to plan services.'

Chris Mould, programme director for strategic change, Swindon and Wiltshire

'I enjoyed being told that the cynics never shaped the future, but I do believe that politicians need to listen a little bit more to warnings from within the service that trying to batter people into providing a better service will not work. 'Naming and shaming might win votes, but it is not the way to get real improvements. People wondering whether to work in the NHS are not going to be more inclined to do so when they see politicians knocking doctors, nurses or managers.'

Andrew Foster, chair, Wigan and Leigh Health Services trust

'He delivered it well, but he did not say anything I was not expecting him to say - except for the bit about the modernisation fund. At least he came here and made these promises.'

Howard Lyons, chair, IHSM independent sector

'The speech was notable for what was not said. No mention was made of the public-private sector partnership. We want Mr Blair to come off the fence, to stop trying to placate Old Labour, and to recognise that public- private sector partnerships are a reality of the NHS.'