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Welfare Reform on the Web (April 2009): National Health Service - primary and community care

150 years of the Annual Report of the Chief Medical Officer: on the state of public health 2008

L. Donaldson

London: DoH, 2009

Claims that adults in Britain are drinking on average up to the equivalent of 120 bottles of wine per year. This excessive consumption of alcohol is leading to road accidents, domestic violence and other anti-social behaviour. To reduce drinking, the report recommends setting a minimum price of 0.50p per unit of alcohol, so that a bottle of wine could be sold for no less than 4.50 and whisky for no less than 14.00. The report also calls for the establishment of rapid access clinics to help those suffering chronic pain and for use of certain antibiotics to treat animals to be banned because irresponsible prescribing contributes to the development of antibiotic resistant diseases such as MRSA.

Health checks for everyone over 40

Anon.

Daily Telegraph, Mar. 30th 2009, p. 6

Reports that people aged 40 to 74 are to be offered a free health check up every five years. Patients' height, weight, age, cholesterol levels, and blood pressure will be checked, and lifestyle advice will be given. The scheme should prevent thousands of heart attacks and strokes, saving 650 lives a year.

The impact of pay-for-performance on professional boundaries in UK general practice: an ethnographic study

S. Grant and others

Sociology of Health and Illness, vol. 31, 2009, p. 229-245

Since the introduction of the new General Medical Services contract in 2004, general practice income is largely dependent on the quality of care provided across a range of clinical and organisational indicators known collectively as the 'Quality and Outcomes Framework' (QOF). This paper reports an ethnographically based study of the impact of the new contract and the financial incentives contained within it on professional boundaries in UK general practice. All four practices studied responded to QOF through the employment of new clinical and administrative staff to support the redistribution of work, the adoption of new IT systems, and the adjustment of care to match QOF requirements. There has been a new concentration of authority within practices, with decision-making and monitoring being led by an internal team of clinical and administrative staff who make the major practice-level decisions about QOF, monitor progress against targets and intervene to improve areas at risk of missing targets.

People power: how can we personalise public services?

N. Keohane

New Local Government Network, 2009

It costs the taxpayer 175,000 to train a dentist after which they are only required to spend their first year as qualified practitioners within the NHS. This represents poor value for money for taxpayers, especially when the government estimates that more than two million people who wish to get NHS dental treatment cannot do so. The report recommends that dentists trained at the public expense should be forced to spend up to half their working week on the care of NHS patients.

Practitioner perspectives on tackling health inequalities: findings from an evaluation of healthy living centres in Scotland

D. Rankin, K. Backett-Milburn and S. Platt

Social Science and Medicine, vol.68, 2009, p. 925-932

Little is known about how health professionals make sense of government policies aimed at tackling health inequalities and how they account for their actions to this end. This paper attempts to address the gap by drawing on data collected in the course of an evaluation of the Healthy Living Centre programme. This was designed to address the wider determinants of health, in particular social exclusion and socio-economic disadvantage, through targeting services on the most deprived communities. Case studies of six Scottish healthy living centres explored how practitioners conceptualised health inequalities and applied the construct to legitimate their public health and health improvement work.

RCGP guide to the revalidation of general practitioners

Royal College of General Practitioners

London: 2009

Revalidation represents the biggest and most significant change to the regulation of GPs since regulation began. The guide sets out for the first time the RCGP's current proposals for the processes and evidence that will be required in order for GPs to be revalidated.

Talk to me: PCTs hone their haggling skills

H. Crump

Health Service Journal, Mar. 5th 2009, p. 12-13

World class commissioning demands that primary care trusts 'stimulate the market'. The techniques are complex, requiring PCTs to be able to look forward and anticipate how services will evolve, spell out to providers what they will want in the future, feed public, patient and staff views into conversations with providers, and get best value. As independent sector health providers delivering services under contract are a relatively new concept, there has not historically been a market to stimulate.

World class commissioning

Health Service Journal, Mar. 5th 2009, p. 4-6

Presents league table showing performance of primary care trusts in the first year of the world class commissioning regime. The performance of PCTs was measured on strategic planning, financial management and board skills. PCTs have made a solid start, and 27 have led the way with green lights across the board for strategy, board governance and finance.

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