England & Wales

Richard Sykes resignation

The health budget. It’s to David Cameron what Lennie was to George and what Private Pike was to his Mum. A budget to be protected, cosseted and shielded from harm. Of course, this has a cost. It means that every other unprotected budget must take more of the pain. There are, however, a couple of dissenters who believe that the NHS could take more grown-up treatment. Their cheerleader will now be Richard Sykes, Chairman of NHS London since 2008, who yesterday resigned in protest after Heath Secretary Andrew Lansely scrapped a radical plan to tackle the £5 billion deficit in London’s health budget. It remains to be seen what plan Lansley will put forward in its place. What is certain, however, is that it will have to be more radical than the current proposals. Local government will modernise to deliver health services in-all-but-name like adult social care. The NHS must be expected to do the same.