Click here to skip to content

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

Bad doctors are overwhelmingly men

J. Laurance

The Independent, Sept. 23rd 2009, p. 7

Women make safer doctors than men, according to the UK's largest study of medical performance. They are less likely to be investigated over concerns about their behaviour, clinical skills or conduct and are significantly less likely to be suspended or excluded from work than their male colleagues. An analysis of almost 5,000 doctors and dentists referred to the National Clinical Assessment Service (NCAS) over the past eight years because of worries about their performance shows a strong gender imbalance. Around 800 doctors and 100 dentists are referred each year.

Doctor choice 'could end era of rural GP surgery'

R. Smith

Daily Telegraph, Sept. 18th 2009, p. 6

The Health Secretary has announced that he wants general practice catchment areas abolished in England, allowing people to register with a surgery near work. Doctors' leaders have pointed out that this move could threaten the continued existence of rural and suburban GP surgeries. If healthy patients register with a GP near their work, rural and suburban practices would be left with the elderly and very sick who are more expensive to look after. Surgeries which lose patients to commuter destinations would have to be subsidised.

Doctors queasy as Burnham vows to abolish GP boundaries

N. Watt and O. Bowcott

The Guardian, Sept. 17th 2009, p. 7

Patients will be given the right to choose their GPs under government reforms allowing people in deprived areas to sign up with surgeries in more affluent areas. The health secretary, Andy Burnham, has announced that fixed 'practice boundaries' are to be abolished within the next year. Under current rules, patients can only sign up with a GP within defined boundaries close to their home. This means that less well-off patients are forced to sign up with surgeries in deprived areas and are barred from using doctors in more affluent areas. It also means people cannot join GP surgeries near their place of work.

(See also, The Guardian, Sept. 3rd 2009, p.8: The Independent, Sept. 3rd 2009, p. 4)

Focusing on young men: developing integrated services for young fathers

J. Reeves and others

Community Practitioner, vol. 82, Sept. 2009, p. 18-21

In recent years there has been a recognition that young fathers have an important role in the care of their children, whether resident or not. However, interventions by professionals generally focus on the mother and the maternal family. This paper reviews literature on service provision for young fathers by statutory services, analyses professional involvement and seeks evidence of 'joined-up thinking'. It identifies critical points in the life of a young father where a range of professionals may offer appropriate services, thereby facilitating long and short term involvement in the life of the child.

The impact of the RNID on auditory services in England: borrowing lawnmowers and the price of salt

A. Murdock and B. Lamb

Social Enterprise Journal, vol. 5, 2009, p. 141-153

This paper examines the impact of the Royal National Institute for the Deaf (RNID), a major UK third sector organisation, on public sector provision. The case examined is that of auditory services, in effect the nature of assessment and provision of hearing aids in England. The case study shows that the RNID effected a dramatic improvement in the quality of the service offered through the move to digital hearing aids and through the improvement of the audiology services themselves. By using its expertise, the RNID also succeeded in achieving a huge reduction in the unit cost of digital hearing aids. A value chain approach is used to examine the effect of the RNID on NHS provision.

Last chance for change

K. Ly

Community Practitioner, vol. 82, Sept. 2009, p. 12-13

This article draws attention to the impact of shortages of health visitors, especially in London. Nationally, staff shortages have resulted in dangerous caseload levels, and workload pressures and unsafe practices are forcing health visitors to change jobs or leave the profession entirely.

(See also Children and Young People Now, Sept. 10th-16th 2009, p. 18-19)

'Organic' reduction in PCTs under Tories

S. Gainsbury

Health Service Journal, Aug. 27th 2009, p. 4-5

Reports that, if they win the next election, the Conservatives are likely to require all GP practices to assume a commissioning role. Most of their commissioning functions would be exercised through federations of GP practices operating as consortia. This would result in a reduction in the commissioning role of primary care trusts, potentially leading to a raft of mergers.

Pride of the community

D. Carlisle

Health Service Journal, Aug. 27th 2009, p. 22-24

District nurses have the skills to deliver high quality care in people's homes as required by current policies which aim to provide more services in the community instead of in hospitals. However, the workforce is ageing and training has been cut back. Renewed commitment to the sector is needed if it is to continue to deliver the services envisaged in Lord Darzi's Next Stage Review.

Search Welfare Reform on the Web