Cameron's NHS address must focus on 'needs of the patient', PA boss advises

David Cameron needs to change the debate around Government NHS proposals to focus on patient care rather than waste and efficiency, public affairs bosses have advised.

Cameron: warns of a 'crisis' if NHS proposals are blocked
Cameron: warns of a 'crisis' if NHS proposals are blocked
In a key note speech addressing health staff later on today, the PM is expected to stand by the changes to the NHS that were drawn up by Andrew Lansley earlier this year. He is expected to say: ‘We save the NHS by changing it. We risk its long-term future by resisting change now.’

Public affairs chairman at Bell Pottinger, Peter Bingle said: ‘The PM’s decision to take personal control of the NHS debate is brave but correct. David Cameron is the one Tory politician who is capable to taking both the public and health professionals with him.’

However, despite Cameron’s determination that the NHS reforms will go ahead, Nick Clegg has threatened to block the changes unless they are signficantly ammended.

Weber Shandwick, UK chairman corporate and public affairs, Jonathan McLeod, said: ‘The focus for NHS reform must shift from discussions about structures to a focus on the needs of the patient, if public support is to be won back. The real PR challenge for the coalition is that there can’t be a neat back-room deal on concessions. Clegg needs a public row and a climb down from Cameron, and I am not sure the Tory leader is up for that.’

Bingle added: ‘The challenge Cameron has is convincing the sceptics that the proposed reforms will deliver real patient benefits rather than simply reduces waste and inefficiency. What he must not do is water down the commitment to increase competition. Going forward increased competition will be the key drover to improving the NHS.’

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