The King's Fund

Government and the NHS: Time for a New Relationship?

  • Format: Printed copy
  • Author(s): Steve Dewar
  • Publication date: 01-Oct-2003

A range of public services, including higher education, housing, and public service broadcasting, are now being funded, delivered, or regulated through agencies working at arm's length from Government. This paper looks at the conceptual and practical challenges – as well as the potential benefits – of arm's-length governance for the NHS, reviews past arguments, and considers how a new arm's-length NHS agency, accountable to Parliament, could work with Government to improve health care. It argues that such an agency could make the NHS more accountable, transparent, and inclusive while also freeing up the Government to consider the impact of factors such as housing and education on health.