2004 Reform Club Debate

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Thursday 26th February 2004 at The Reform Club, London.

“This house believes that patient choice should be the most significant driver in the planning of services and facilities in the future”

Supporting the motion

  • Harry Cayton
    ‘The Patient Tsar’
    Director of Patient & Public Experience, Department of Health
  • Professor Russell Jones
    Senior Partner, Chorleywood HC
    Assoc. Prof., Brunel University

Opposing the motion

  • Bob Ricketts
    Head of Access Policy Development & Capacity, Department of Health
  • Peter Scher
    Architect, Consultant and Researcher

Event Chairman: John Wells-Thorpe

Event Sponsors: hbg construction

A service built around the needs of the patient is at the heart of the Government’s plans to improve the NHS. Outlined in The NHS Plan and Delivering the NHS Plan, the pre-eminence of patient choice was reinforced in December 2003 with the publication of the report of the Government’s national consultation, Building on the Best – Choice, Responsiveness & Equity in the NHS. This consultation was directed by Harry Cayton, appointed Director of Patient & Public Experience by the Government in May 2002 to examine how to offer people genuine choice in their use of NHS services, and improve the patient experience.

Sometimes referred to as the quiet revolution’, this strategy advanced a step further in early February 2004 with the launch of 570 patient and public forums across England which aim to represent local people on health and healthcare, scrutinise quality of care and ‘be a force for fairness and change’.

The evidence suggests that this patient choice revolution, whether it is quiet or not, will have deeply significant consequences for the way in which healthcare is delivered. GPs will be able to choose the place of treatment for their patients, especially if waiting time targets are not met locally. To achieve targets, the Government is setting up Treatment Centres and a much greater involvement of the private sector. Hospitals will no longer be certain about who will come to them for treatment, and upon what basis patients will make their choice.

Will patient choice deliver better quality and responsiveness, or simply lead to fragmentation, confusion and inefficiency?


The Reform Club, 104 Pall Mall, London SW1Y 5EW, Tel: 020 7930 9374, Nearest Tube: Piccadilly Circus or Charing Cross.

Dress Code: Guests must be dressed formally. Gentlemen must wear a closed collor, tie and jacket, ladies should dress with corresponding formality. Jeans, leather jackets and the like are not appropriate.

Click here to view the Government’s Consultation Document and Summary of Outcome – Building on the best: choice, responsiveness and equity in the NHS.

For futher information on events and membership please contact:
Paul Mercer, Secretary
c/o Tangram Architects and Designers
Unit 3.2, The Leathermarket, Weston Street, London SE1 3EX
Tel: 020 7357 6971, Fax: 020 7357 7028
Email: paul.mercer@tangramarchitects.co.uk


2004 marks the 10th Annual Reform Club Debate held by Architects for Health. Topics discussed and debated in previous years include:

  • 2003: This house believes that the method of procurement of healthcare facilities has nothing at all to do with patient care
  • 2002: This house believes that an informed client and a good architect are all you need for good design
  • 2001: This house believes the NHS Plan is unachievable within present constraints
  • 2000: Capturing design quality: ideas and initiatives
  • 1999: This house regrets that design quality is being sacrificed by fee tendering, the current briefing process, and inadequate time and funding
  • 1998: This house believes that the current PFI process is undermining the ability of the NHS to plan a proper (responsive) health service
  • 1997: This house believes there are too many District General Hospitals for the good of the Nation’s Health
  • 1996: This house believes that US health architects have much to teach their UK opposite numbers
  • 1995: This house believes that design and build is of great benefit to the NHS

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