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Lansley: I am not denigrating managers

Health secretary Andrew Lansley told yesterday's NHS Confederation conference that good management was 'vital' to the NHS reforms and that his aim was to reduce bureaucracy, not to denigrate managers.

Asked about NHS Confederation chief executive Mike Farrar's comments to the conference earlier in the week when he said there was a need for the Government to 'stop attacking and start valuing managers', Mr Lansley said: 'If people interpret a detemination to reduce the cost of administration and the level of administrative staffing in the NHS as a determination to denigrate managers that is an incorrect interpretation. It is sometimes senior managers in the NHS who are the most vocal critics of excessive bureacracy in the NHS.'

In his speech, Mr Lansley said: 'We have to stop the bureacracy that gets in the way of providing patient-centred care. But that is not to say management is not important. It's vital. Without high quality management we can't hope to meet the challenges we face.'

Mr Lansley resonded: 'I'm not responsible for what the Daily Mail writes. You've heard secretaries of state before me say there is waste and bureacracy in the NHS and actually we saw bureacracy escalate. What I'm opposed to is an over-administered NHS and one that stymies innovation.'

'I'm opposed to excessive bureacracy. I say that as someone who started their career as a civil servant. I don't decry good process and good managment. If go back 20 years the NHS was under-managed.'

One delegate said: 'Thankyou for your kind words, I just don't understand why I have to go home to my family and friends and convince them of the role that we all play.'

Mr Lansley responded that he had consistently said he wanted high quality management alongside strong clinical leadership.