Access to health care ‘still unequal’

In his first speech as health secretary, John Reid said access to
health services continued to vary according to wealth and class,
despite the egalitarian principles of the NHS.

Speaking at the NHS Confederation’s annual conference in Edinburgh,
Reid admitted that the NHS had “not as yet fully succeeded in
providing equality of access to health care”.

He told member NHS organisations that their challenge was to ensure
that the choice and convenience of service did not depend “either
on where you live or how much you can afford”.

However, Reid failed to mention social services or joint working
once during his presentation, billed as setting out the “broad
direction of travel” he would be pursuing as secretary of

Reid was appointed health secretary last month after the surprise
departure of Alan Milburn, who resigned to spend more time with his

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