King's Fund former chief executive Baroness Julia Neuberger has been given 12 months to chair a review of Liberal Democrat health policy.

King's Fund former chief executive Baroness Julia Neuberger has been given 12 months to chair a review of Liberal Democrat health policy.

The Liberal Democrat peer and spokeswoman on health said improving accountability for primary care trusts was one area that would be explored. She made the comments in a question and answer session on health.

Asked about decisions on drug treatment, Liberal Democrat health spokesman Steve Webb said it would be 'dishonest' if the party was to back every claim by patients whose choice of drug was rejected, and Baroness Neuberger won applause when she said she never wanted to see a Liberal Democrat health secretary 'do what Patricia Hewitt did over Herceptin'.

During the session, delegates asked questions about the balance between localism and strategic thinking, and the problems of delivering healthcare in rural areas. The previous day, Liberal Democrat health spokeswoman Sandra Gidley said the first meeting of the party's new health policy working group had been 'absolutely divided' over how accountability should work at local level. Some members argued for local councillors to take responsibility for commissioning decisions, while others felt new elected bodies with expertise in health should be created, she said.

At a separate session, Mr Webb attacked the government for creating a 'fake market' and 'bribing' the private sector into it via block contracts at premium tariffs.