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Healthy controls

The NHS is improving—but government must resist the urge to manage from above

By Julian Le Grand   June 2006

Patricia Hewitt was right. This has been the best year the NHS has ever had. More patients have been treated than ever before—and treated both faster and more effectively. Survey after survey shows that those who have recently used the NHS think it is getting better. Staff have not done too badly either. There are more nurses than ever before: 85,000 more since 1997. Entry-level nurses’ pay has increased by 25 per cent in real terms. Doctor numbers have increased by over a third, and, as we all now know, their pay has also shot up. Even non-professional staff have…

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