Chris Lancelot - It is time for us all to listen to Andrew Lansley unedited

Quite rightly the profession insists on all professional decisions being thoroughly evidence-based, but it is interesting that we don't apply the same high standards to medical politics.

Now is the time to listen to the health secretary directly and not believe what someone else says about him and his policies
Now is the time to listen to the health secretary directly and not believe what someone else says about him and his policies

We would never accept second-hand, highly selected and anecdotal evidence about treatment - yet many of us base our opinions on the government's plans for the NHS on slanted articles, third-hand experience and edited interviews.

How many of us believe that government ministers' real intention for the NHS is to break it up and hand it over to its tycoon cronies? And why do we think that? Because we've been told that these are their intentions - not by impartial and scientific sources but by political activists, union representatives and the media, most of whom have their own political agenda, and therefore cannot be counted on to provide objective assessments.

Let's get personal. How did you form your opinions of Andrew Lansley's intentions? Have you actually listened to him directly, especially when he was speaking in a non-political, non-edited, open environment?

Well I have. And what impressed me most was his intellect and his quiet integrity. He strikes me as open, sensitive and thoughtful, with a clear vision for the NHS of which all of us can be proud, retaining its core ethos while modernising its delivery and resolutely not micro-managing it from the centre. (He also made it clear that, unlike the last Labour administration, he'll stop private providers cherry-picking the easy bits.)

And in case you think I am a fawning Tory activist, think again: I have always applauded sincere and honourable politicians from all shades of the political spectrum - such as Frank Field, Labour MP for Birkenhead, Merseyside.

Whenever commentators and the media tell us what government ministers are thinking, warning bells should start ringing. This is not evidence-based politics. Don't take other people's opinions as absolute truth: go to the source material yourself.

And I include myself in this. Don't take my view of Andrew Lansley as accurate: please listen at first hand, and without anyone else's editing, to what he actually says and then make up your own mind about his intentions. Anything else is just anecdotal.

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