'My general approach in life is that I respond to encouragement rather than criticism and I think most other people do. I think most people in the NHS are very dedicated, and trying to get the best out of them has got to be my task.

'I think there's a huge amount of talent in the NHS that we are not making use of... We need to get more out of people, make more use of their latent talents. We ought to be identifying (management problems) earlier than we do and doing something about it instead of sitting back and going ooh- er and wringing hands. I'm not a hand-wringer; if somebody says: 'This place isn't being run as well as it ought to be,' well, 'Why don't we do something about it?' is my response.