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Welfare Reform on the Web (December 2010): National Health Service - primary and community care

Dentists attack new checks as a costly waste

R. Smith

Daily Telegraph, Nov. 16th 2010, p. 10

From April 2011, all dentists will be required to register with the Care Quality Commission to ensure that they are maintaining proper treatment standards in clean conditions and are accountable for their work. However, dentists have been regulated by the General Dental Council for over 50 years. More than 350 dentists have now written an open letter to the Daily Telegraph arguing that registration with the Care Quality Commission will lead only to costly duplication and waste.

Healthy lives, healthy people: our strategy for public health in England

Department of Health

London: TSO, 2010 (Cm 7985)

This White paper sets out the Coalition government's long-term vision for the future of public health in England. The aim is to create a 'wellness service' (Public Health England) and to strengthen both national and local leadership. Proposals include: 1) vouchers for half price swimming sessions, cut-price gym membership, purchase of healthy food, etc; 2) funding for 4,200 extra health visitors; 3) introduction of plain packaging for tobacco products; 4) measures to encourage mothers to breastfeed at work; and 5) rewards for children who walk to school. The aim is to provide incentives for people to adopt healthy lifestyles.

PCT talent to be assigned to consortia

C. Santry

Health Service Journal, Nov. 18th 2010, p. 4-5

Primary care trust managers will be assigned to emerging GP consortia to influence their development and limit the loss of talented staff as part of a national plan being developed by the NHS East of England chief executive. Only PCT staff involved in commissioning secondary care would be assigned to consortia in this way, and any decisions would be made in partnership with GPs.

Primary care

A. Moore (editor) Health Service Journal, Nov. 18th 2010, p. 17-23

This special report on primary care offers articles on: 1) how longer GP surgery opening times will be sustained following the abolition of national targets and the introduction of GP consortia; 2) the likely effectiveness of GP consortia in commissioning high quality services for their communities while controlling costs; 3) the need to integrate community services closely into GP practices; and 4) how GPs influence healthcare services in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Tackling inequalities in life expectancy in areas with the worst health and deprivation

Committee of Public Accounts

London: TSO, 2010 (House of Commons papers, session 2010/11; HC 470)

The report examines: why the Department of Health (DH) has failed to meet its health inequalities target, the role of General Practitioners (GPs), and the lessons that this provides for the National Health Service (NHS). Inequalities in health outcomes between the most affluent and disadvantaged members of society are longstanding, deep-seated and have proved difficult to change. In 2004 the Government set DH the target of reducing the gap in life expectancy between 70 'spearhead' local authorities with high deprivation and the population as a whole by 10% by 2010. DH has not met this target and has been exceptionally slow to tackle health inequalities. It is of great concern that inequality in health has increased and that the Department took nine years to establish tackling inequalities as an NHS priority. GPs are crucial to improving the health of people in the most deprived areas. However, in many of these areas the number of GPs per head of population is well below the number in more affluent areas. DH missed an opportunity to use the revised GP contract to ensure more doctors work in deprived areas, and has not focused their attention sufficiently on implementing the key interventions that would make a difference.

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