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Welfare Reform on the Web (March 2003): National Health Service - Community and Primary Care Services

BETWEEN THE LINES

P Stephenson

Health Service Journal, vol. 113, Jan 9th 2003, p.8

Discusses the dilemmas faced by primary care trusts in planning the implementation of the new GP contract in April 2003, when the results of the ballot on its acceptance will not be known until the same month.

CENTRAL RESERVATIONS

J Pattinson

Health Service Journal, vol. 113, Jan 16th 2003, p.30-31

South Leeds Primary Care Trust has established a call centre for booking appointments for community services. This handles bookings for physiotherapy, minor surgery and retinal screening. Since it went live in April 2002, the service has booked 2000 appointments, reduced waiting times for physiotherapy appointments from 16 to four weeks and cut non-attendance rates from 18 to 2%. It is hoped to extend operating hours to 7:30pm and to cover other services.

FIFTH OF GPs WANT TO QUIT

S Boseley

The Guardian, January 3rd 2002, p.1

One in five GPs plan to quit the health service because of rising disenchantment with the job according to new figures from the Department of Health. The research shows an increase in the number wanting to quit, from 14% in 1998 to 22% in 2001.

HEALTH ACTION ZONES AND THE PROBLEM OF COMMUNITY

P Crawshaw, R Bunton and K Gillen

Health and Social Care in the Community, vol. 11, 2003, p.36-44

Health Action Zones appropriate the concept of community participation as a means of accessing individuals to involve them in projects which encourage them to take responsibility for their own health. They are thus attempting to tackle inequalities at a micro-level in order to build capacity and allow people to better manage their own health. Paper uses the findings of an ongoing study of the development of a zone in North-east England to consider community involvement in practice.

THE HUMAN TOUCH

L Newbronner, M Pedler and T Scott

Health Service Journal, vol. 113, Jan 30th 2003, p.28-29

Research with six primary care trusts (PCTs) started in 2001 suggests that many lack access to relevant expertise in human resources management. Where PCTs do have human resources directors, they are often being asked to act on strategic issues which are outside their experience. PCTs required to rely on acute trusts' Human Resources Departments for HR expertise find this unsatisfactory as the issues facing the two sectors are very different. The status of human resources management in PCTs needs to be boosted.

MORE THAN WORDS

K Stevenson

Health Service Journal, vol. 113, Jan 16th 2003, p.26-28

Research in one primary care group involving 92 patients from nine general practices established a list of the 20 standards most important to patients. When asked to assess themselves against these standards, practices rated their services higher than patients did. The research uncovered considerable resistance to patient involvement from GPs.

PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT

A McLellan

Health Service Journal, vol. 113, Jan 16th 2003, p.22-23

Report of an interview with Dr Peter Smith, chair of the National Association of Primary Care. He emphasises the importance of involving doctors and managers at practice level in commissioning services. He expects practices which operate under Personal Medical Services contracts be at the forefront of this commissioning.

THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN SIZE AND PERFORMANCE OF PRIMARY CARE ORGANISATIONS IN ENGLAND

D Wilkin and others

Journal of Health Services Research and Policy, vol. 8, 2003, p.11-17

Data on size, proxy measures of performance and merger intentions were extracted from telephone and mail surveys of 71 primary care groups and trusts in England. There is little evidence that the performance or efficiency of a primary care organisation is related to its size. Optimal size may differ for different functions. Mergers are seen as a way of increasing management capacity and may reflect the desire of managers to manage large organisations.

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