PM signals first NHS constitution Gordon Brown said patients admired NHS doctors and nurses Prime Minister Gordon Brown has signalled his intention to press ahead with a constitution for the NHS. It would set out for the first time the rights and responsibilities linked to entitlement to NHS care. Mr Brown's comments came in a New Year message to NHS staff ahead of the 60th anniversary of the health service. He said a constitution - which was first suggested by former PM Tony Blair - would help secure its future for another 60 years. In a letter to NHS staff, Mr Brown said a fundamental review of the taxpayer-funded health service was under way. And he said changes could be enshrined in an NHS constitution, setting out the "rights and responsibilities" linked to entitlement to NHS care. Staff thanked Mr Brown said better care and higher standards over the past 10 years had reduced waiting times and saved thousands of lives. Some 99.9% of people with suspected cancer were seen by a specialist within two weeks of a GP referral, compared with 63% in 1997. And cancer mortality rates had fallen in the last 10 years, with 60,000 lives being saved. A further 175,000 people under 75 with cardiovascular disease had also been saved by NHS care and treatment, he said. "These are your achievements and I want to thank you for them," he wrote. 'Personalised care' He said plans for 2008 involved tackling hospital infections and improving access to care. Earlier this year, Mr Brown asked Professor Ara Darzi to conduct a major review of the NHS in consultation with patients, staff and the public. We must resist the urge to tinker with further structural changes and concentrate on ensuring excellent technical treatment is twinned with responsive care tailored to individual needs and experience Dr Gill Morgan Over the next year, he said, "we will describe how we will achieve our shared ambition of an NHS which is more personal and responsive to individual needs. "Personalised not just because patients can get the treatment that they need when and where they wan, but because from an early stage we are all given the information and advice to take greater responsibility for our own health." He talked of wanting to create an NHS which is "as good at prevention and keeping us healthy as it is at the care and the cures we know are there when we need them". He said he wanted to give patients more control over their care, adding: "We will also examine how all these changes can be enshrined in a new constitution of the NHS, setting out for the first time the rights and responsibilities associated with an entitlement to NHS care." Mr Brown's comments were welcomed by Dr Gill Morgan, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, which represents more than 95% of NHS organisations. But she warned: "In this jubilee year, we must resist the urge to tinker with further structural changes and concentrate on ensuring excellent technical treatment is twinned with responsive care tailored to individual needs and experience." The NHS - the world's first completely free healthcare system - was created by Nye Bevan, then minister for health, on 4 July 1948.