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Welfare Reform on the Web (December 2007): National Health Service - reform - general

Can a constitution seal the service's freedom?

L. Kendall

Health Service Journal, vol. 117, Nov. 15th 2007, p. 20-21

The government is considering whether a written constitution could help deliver a new and enduring settlement for the NHS in time for the 60th anniversary of its foundation in 2008. Such a constitution would need to address the challenges of:

  1. enshrining the fundamental principles and values of the NHS
  2. increasing the public accountability of local services
  3. spelling out the rights and responsibilities of patients and the public.

Fresh security fears as information escapes

D. Carlisle

Health Service Journal, vol. 117, Nov. 29th 2007, p. 14-15

The loss of two computer discs with details of 15 million child benefit recipients en route between Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs and the National Audit Office has led to trust in the security of NHS electronic patient records being further dented. This system will eventually cover 50 million people and the detailed care record will include highly sensitive personal information.

State of the union

H. Mooney

Health Service Journal, vol. 117, Nov. 22nd 2007, p. 24-26

Managers in Partnership was formed in 2005 as a joint venture between Unison and the First Division Association. It aims to bring NHS managers together in networks, shunning traditional union branch structures. With 5,500 members it is growing fast and has won praise for establishing a high profile as it tries to protect and advise managers, boost their public image and ensure that they are not blamed unfairly for NHS failures.

Understanding health policy

R. Baggott

Bristol: Policy Press, 2007

In recent years the pace of reform in health policy and the NHS has been relentless. But how are policies formed and implemented? The book takes a fresh look at the processes and institutions that make health policy, examining such questions as what constitutes health policy, where power lies, and what changes could be made to improve the quality of health policy making. Based on original research, including a series of in-depth interviews with health policy actors, the book examines the role of various institutions in the formation and implementation of health policy. It considers the impact of devolution on health policy and the role of European and international organisations and features case studies to illustrate how policy has evolved and developed in recent years.

The weakest links

S. Cirell and J. Bennett

Public Finance, Oct. 5th-11th 2007, p. 19

The Department of Health published plans to replace NHS patient forums with Local Involvement Networks (LINks) run by councils with social services responsibilities in July 2006. The government intends to have the LINks up and running in April 2008, before legislation enabling the change is in place.

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