Prime minister Gordon Brown has told patient safety managers the success of the NHS is in their hands.

Speaking today at the Patient Safety Congress, organised by HSJ and sister title Nursing Times, Mr Brown said the future of the NHS depended on staff having the freedom to provide personalised patient care.

Watch Gordon Brown's speech here

He told delegates: "It's about empowering staff... to meet the aspirations of our patients in the future. We're grateful for everything you do."

He said that with life expectancy rising and treatments becoming more sophisticated, it was important to work together to meet public expectations. "This comes down to personal care we can give people and that's why the whole basis of our reforms are to empower staff."

The prime minister admitted some of the government's patient safety measures, such as the deep clean, had been controversial, but said money was also being invested in new technologies and screening programmes.

He added: "This conference is a wonderful testimony to facing up to the challenges of the next few decades."

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