The government should "go much further" in its efforts to reduce the influence of the state on the NHS and give control to staff, a leading Liberal Democrat politician has said.
Health minister Norman Lamb said public ownership of the NHS was rarely the most effective way to deliver health services.
“The state can never make people happy. Surely we understand this? It’s people, companionship, and friendship," he said at a conference organised by a Liberal Democrat think-tank.
Lamb said he wanted to see more health services like Hinchingbrooke Hospital, which is the first NHS hospital to be operated by a private company, Circle. He highlighted the fact that some of the shares in Circle were owned by employees at the hospital.
“If you give people a stake in their organisation, you allow them to have some control in how their service develops, you unleash a productivity gain. We’ve seen some of this in the NHS but I think it could go much further," he explained.