Health Secretary Andrew Lansley tells pupils about NHS
Pupils at Melbourn Village College in Hertfordshire have pulled off a major coup by interviewing Health Secretary Andrew Lansley.
The local MP spent half an hour talking with teenagers Helen, Chris and Lauren about a variety of subjects - including, of course, the National Health Service, which is the subject of controversial reform proposals by the Government.
During the interview, Mr Lansley revealed his political heroine was Margaret Thatcher, who he worked for in her last year as Prime Minister.
He said: "Even if you didn't agree with her, you could see that she had a view of how the world worked and how you could change things and make things happen.
"In terms of politics that's very important because it's about bringing your ideas and she was very much an ideas person."
On his plans to reform the NHS, Mr Lansley explained: "I'm essentially trying to achieve three things.
End Quote Andrew Lansley
"All the way through, my right leg shook ”
"Number one is to get the National Health Service to a place where we have literally amongst the best results for patients, pretty much anywhere in the world.
"Secondly, I need to arrive at a place where people have a system of care and support for them that they know they can rely upon - and that they don't feel they're abandoned or unsafe.
"The third thing - and this in a way is the most important and the most difficult - is getting to a place where we have better underlying health in the population overall.
"That is things like people stopping smoking, having a good healthy weight, leading healthy lives and creating the environment around people that helps to keep them healthy.
"There (needs to be) a big shift in people's behaviour and that's quite a big thing to achieve."
On a lighter note, the minister recalled giving his first speech as a student at university, revealing: "All the way through, my right leg shook - fortunately now when I make speeches it has stopped shaking!"
Melbourn Village teacher Germaine Varney said: "It was absolutely brilliant - I didn't think we'd get the interview.
"We were originally allocated a 15-minute slot but he ended up giving us half an hour.
"Helen, Chris and Lauren were nervous beforehand but relaxed into it and had an almost telepathic understanding when it came to knowing which questions to ask next."