The National Health Service is Britain's greatest and most prized national institution. Ever since it's foundation the NHS has commanded extraordinary popular affection and loyalty. Its medical and non-medical staff force alike has been strongly committed to its success and values. However, now more than fifty years later, a huge gap has developed between what the NHS is able to deliver and the expectations and the needs of its users. The deterioration of the NHS dominates our news headlines today.
In 1999 the Association of Community Health Councils for England and Wales established a Commission, chaired by Will Hutton, to examine the issue of the public interest and accountability of the NHS. The Commission's report has come up with some radical reforms that will transform the accountability of the NHS and will help rebuild the relationships between patients, doctors and NHS staff on a new basis of openness and trust.