E. Regen, J. Smith and N. Goodwin
Health Service Journal, vol. 110, 23rd Mar. 2000, p. 24-29
A study of 12 PCGs carried out in the Summer of 1999 found a diversity of management arrangements. All the groups had been commissioning pilots. Two-thirds thought the financial information and support from local health authorities was inadequate. Most chief executives found the IT development poor. More than half of PCGs felt the management allowance was insufficient. Most felt they needed more time to develop as organisations before going for trust status.
Health Service Journal, vol. 110, 30th Mar. 2000, p. 28-29
Primary care trusts that want to shift resources from hospitals will face many of the barriers which have frustrated health authorities. Part of the difficulty lies in hospitals' fixed overhead costs, which cannot be saved if patients are transferred. As incentives in the system tend towards preserving the status quo, PCTs will have to make full use of the relationship between GPs and consultants to effect change.
Health Service Journal, vol. 110, Mar. 16th 2000, p.11-12
Discusses options for integrating NHS Direct and walk-in medical centres with GP's out-of-hours services to provide consistent access to care.
Health Service Journal, vol. 110, Mar. 23rd 2000, p. 13-14
Reports on the Prime Minister's attempt to conciliate family doctors at the GP 2000 conference. Mr Blair promised extra funding in return for modernisation, while GPs complained about the increase in their workload brought about by the introduction of PCGs and how the generic drugs crisis was leaving PCGs cash-strapped.
Guardian, March 20th 2000, p. 1
Reports changes to the ambulance services allowing crews and operators to concentrate on urgent patients. Operators will be allowed to refer 999 callers with minor illnesses to the government's flagship NHS Direct telephone service, which is staffed by nurses and gives medical advice to callers.
Independent, Mar.21st 2000, p. 7
Survey shows that while NHS Direct is popular with patients, the demand on accident and emergency departments and the ambulance service is unchanged. The rise in calls to GPs' out-of-hours services has been halted since NHS Direct was introduced. However, fewer than one in five callers changed their plans to consult a GP as a result of the advice they received.
(See also Financial Times, Mar. 21st 2000, p. 6; Times, Mar. 21st 2000, p. 9; Independent. Review, Mar. 21st 2000, p. 5)
London: British Medical Association, 2000
Discusses a range of issues facing general practice, including its gate-keeping role, funding and rationing, interface with secondary care, community services, nurses and public health, the future of independent contractor status, the role of primary care groups, and the promotion of quality.
Health Service Journal, vol. 110, Mar. 16th 2000, p. 14-15
Reports on progress towards the imminent launch of the first 17 primary care trusts, which will be responsible for providing primary and community health care and commissioning hospital services.