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Welfare Reform on the Web (May 2001): National Health Service - Reform - General

ALL ABOARD?

M Gould

Health Service Journal, vol. 111, March 1st 2001, p.12-13.

Reports results of a discussion with 20 members of the public travelling on a bus from Marble Arch to Clapham about the impact of Labour reforms on the NHS. Thirteen people out of the 20 questioned thought the NHS had got worse or stayed the same under Labour. A quarter said that they or a member of their family had had a recent bad experience at the hands of the NHS. Respondents were most concerned about waiting lists, staff shortages and lack of funding.

BUILDING THE INFORMATION CORE: IMPLEMENTING THE NHS PLAN

NHS Executive

2001

Presents revised IT strategy for the NHS. Sets out a vision of how IT can be used to deliver patient-centred service and gives a new emphasis to national standards. National projects have already been commissioned for digital TV and smart-card technology. A national solution will be developed for electronic appointment booking systems. Joint procurements will also be encouraged in "more mature areas" of NHS IT such as electronic patient records, which will be required to conform to agreed national and international standards.

CALLING FOR HEALTH ADVOCACY AND ACCOUNTABILITY

S Elizabeth

British Journal of Health Care Management, vol.7, 2001, p.61-62.

In order that the NHS should be able to respond to the needs of ethnic minority users, cross-cultural advocacy should be brought from the margins into the mainstream of patient advocacy services.

CONSULTANTS FIGHT SEVEN-YEAR BAN ON PRIVATE WORK

C Hall

Daily Telegraph, Feb 22nd 2001, p.12.

Reports that doctors have rejected outright the government's proposed new contract for NHS consultants, which would ban them from undertaking private work during their first seven years in post.

(See also Financial Times, Feb 22nd 2001, p.6; Times, Feb 22nd 2001, p.4).

DOCTOR KNOW

L Whitfield

Health Service Journal, vol.111, Mar 8th 2001, p.16-17.

Clause 67 of the Health and Social Care Bill gives the Health Secretary power to prohibit the disclosure of "prescribed" patient information to "prescribed" individuals. Organisations and individuals breaking these rules will be subject to a £5,000 fine. At the same time, clause 67 will also allow the Health Secretary to require the exchange of some confidential information without patient consent. This is to safeguard the operation of the cancer registries.

EDUCATING AND TRAINING THE FUTURE HEALTH PROFESSIONAL WORKFORCE FOR ENGLAND

National Audit Office

London: TSO, 2001 (House of Commons papers. Session 2000-2001; HC277)

Report on the improvements needed in delivery of education and training in NHS institutions to improve quality. The report acknowledges that there are current problems with the system and proposes approaches to planning, commissioning and delivering health professional education and training for best value for money.

FAST TRACK TO RUNNING NEW NHS CENTRES

N Timmins

Financial Times, Mar 2nd 2001, p.4.

Private hospital groups are keen to provide and run the new NHS fast track diagnosis and surgery centres planned by the government. The centres would provide diagnosis and elective treatments alongside NHS hospitals and would be built, operated and financed by the private sector, providing all the clinical services under contract to the NHS.

GOVERNMENT KEEPS ITS NERVE OVER CONSULTANTS CONTRACTS

M Thompson

Health Service Journal, vol.111, Feb 22nd 2001, p.4.

Reports that relations between the government and doctors have been further soured over the proposals for a new contract for NHS consultants. Under the new rules, consultants would have to agree a formalised job plan with their employers, undergo an annual appraisal and accept a performance related pay system. The right to undertake private practice work would depend on both a satisfactory appraisal and the completion of a minimum number of sessions of NHS work. Newly qualified consultants would have to spend the bulk of their time on NHS work, with more flexibility for private practice being allowed later in their careers.

(See also Guardian, Feb 20th 2001, p.7; Times, Feb 20th 2001, p.2).

HIDDEN TALENTS

Audit Commission

Audit Commission Publications, 2001.

Reports a five fold variation between trusts in spending on staff education, training and development, with one third of staff reporting that their needs in this area were not identified. Half of staff did not have a personal development plan. Recommends that Trust Boards and senior managers should make explicit the roles and responsibilities of individuals, managers and the board in getting the best from training and development. They should periodically review the overall strategy and get regular update reports. They should use formal performance measures to ensure that directorates' training policies and spending on them are under review.

IMPLEMENTING THE NHS PLAN: TRAINING AND DEVELOPMENT

Health Service Journal, vol. 111, Feb 22nd 2001, Supplement. 20p.

Report looks at training, a crucial aspect of the government's resolve to ensure NHS staff are treated better. A leadership academy, individual learning accounts for staff and better courses for nurse returners are some of the initiatives promised in the Plan. The report examines progress in these areas, as well as courses and schemes to help managers make the best of their careers.

IN FOR A QUICKIE

A McGauran

Health Service Journal, vol. 111, March 1st 2001, p.16-17.

Discusses the impact of fast-track centres for elective surgery on the concept of the general hospital.

MORE FOREIGN NURSES COME TO BRITAIN'S AID

D Charter

Times, Mar 12th 2001, p.5.

The UK Central Council for Nursing, Midwifery and Health Visiting reports that applications from foreign nurses to register to work in Britain have doubled over the past year, as NHS hospitals increasingly recruit staff from abroad. Requests to register in the UK are now averaging 1000 a week compared with 500 a week a year ago.

THE NHS: STILL STANDING OR STANDING STILL?

A Cowper

British Journal of Health Care Management, vol.7, 2001, p.58-60.

Reports an interview with the Liberal Democrat Nick Harvey on health policy.

NHS PILOTS FAST-TRACK HOSPITAL TREATMENT

J Carvel

Guardian, Mar 6th 2001, p.7.

The Health Secretary has announced the launch of a pilot scheme under which patients in nine areas will benefit from a guarantee of treatment within 28 days if their operation is cancelled on the day of surgery. If the local NHS Trust cannot do the operation in time, it will have to pay for treatment at the time and hospital of the patients' choice. The patients will be free to choose a private hospital, for which the NHS will have to pay.

THE NHS PLAN: A VIEW FROM 30,000 FEET

A Enthoven

British Journal of Health Care Management, vol.7, 2001, p.73-74.

Argues that the NHS should move away from providing medical services and purchase them from private sector suppliers. The NHS's role would be to plan, specify and purchase services on behalf of taxpayers and to monitor their quality.

THE NHS PLAN: PROPOSAL FOR A NEW APPROACH TO THE CONSULTANT CONTRACT

Department of Health

London: 2001

Proposes: £10,000 extra on starting salaries for newly qualified consultants; performance pay bonuses for those who continue to give a full commitment to the NHS; that most consultants should get a bonus of £10,000 after 5-8 years service and a further £10,000 after 10-16 years; an increase in the number of consultants from 26,000 to 39,000 by 2009; job plans for all consultants to increase accountability; and a ban on private work for the first seven years.

NHS USE OF PRIVATE BEDS IS UP THREEFOLD

D Charter

Times, Feb 19th 2001, p.11.

The number of NHS patients being treated by independent hospitals has more than tripled since the government signed its "concordat" with the private sector in November 2000.

(See also Daily Telegraph, Feb 19th 2001, p.6; Independent, Feb 19th 2001, p.6).

QUICK, QUICK SLOW

B Leese

Health Service Journal, vol. 111 March 1st 2001, p.35.

Argues that early evaluations of various innovative initiatives in the NHS are being ignored in the rush to press ahead with the next wave of reforms.

THE SEVEN-YEAR HITCH

J Davies

Health Service Journal, vol. 111, Mar 8th 2001, p.26-29.

The Department of Health and the British Medical Association have radically different agendas as they negotiate a new contract for NHS consultants. The government wishes to regulate consultants more closely to weed out poor performers and to enable trusts to gain greater managerial control over the use of doctors' time. Consultants say they currently work excessively long hours for the NHS and want a contract that reflects this workload and puts a lid on their NHS commitment. Beyond this, they reject the proposed ban on newly qualified consultants doing private work for as much as seven years.

SPOT THE DIFFERENCE

P Stephenson

Health Service Journal, vol. 111, Mar 8th 2001, p.12-13.

A Liberal Democrat government would offer: training places for 3,300 extra doctors and 11,400 extra hospital beds; £1,000 average pay rise for low paid professional staff; free long-term personal care; and 1,000 dentists brought back into the NHS.

WHEELER DEALERS

A McGauran

Health Service Journal, vol. 111 Feb 22nd 2001, p.12-13.

The increase in hospital-acquired infections is leading many experts to call for a public health role within acute trusts.