Published: 17/11/2005 Volume 115 No. 5982 Page 9

NHS Alliance chair Dr Michael Dixon urged the government to make real its rhetoric as the curtain fell on a dramatic conference.

The conference saw the health secretary and NHS chief executive join special advisers and civil servants in reassuring delegates that they were listening to concerns about the reform agenda.

Speaking to HSJ as the conference closed, Dr Dixon said the government's message - which included 'stunning' apologies from NHS chief executive Sir Nigel Crisp and health secretary Patricia Hewitt - had convinced delegates they had 'been listened to and understood'.

Now, he said, was the time for the government to show by its 'behaviour' that it was serious about putting 'the primary care front line in the driving seat' and involving clinicians in policy-making.