National Audit Office
London: TSO, 2003 (House of Commons Papers, session 2002/03; HC1055)
The report argues that too much external inspection of the NHS is hampering the implementation of key clinical governance strategies. Clinical governance functions that "serve some statutory or external requirement" such as risk management or complaints are more robust. However, newer functions, which may not be seen as essential, such as patient and public involvement, are less well developed in many trusts. Few trusts have developed internal indicators to monitor progress in implementing clinical governance and in up to a third of hospitals there is no connection between Board policies and what happens on the front line.
Health Service Journal, Volume 113, October 16th 2003, p.18-19
The article argues that the NHS needs to communicate with its users in language they understand if it is to increase the numbers of people who understand the value of self-help and prevention. Managers and clinicians need to learn to listen to those they serve.
Health Service Journal, Vol. 113, October 16th 2003, p.28-29
Community hospitals are finding a new role as diagnostic and treatment centres.
J. Blitz and C. Adam
Financial Times, October 2nd 2003, p. 1
At yesterdays' Labour party conference the biggest trade unions joined forces to inflict a symbolic defeat on the Labour leadership over the government's NHS reforms. The four unions, GMB, Unison, TGWU and Amicus, worked together to pass the motion to scrap plans for foundation hospitals. The vote does not imperil the legislation but Tony Blair unable to present a united front.
(See Also The Times, October 2nd 2003, p.1)
B. Hollingsworth and D. Parkin
Journal of Health Services Research & Policy, Vol. 8, 2003, p.230-236
Although the NHS has numerous ways of measuring efficiency these methods are unreliable, producing results that can be misused and making them unpopular with potential users. This study investigate the benefits of using data envelopment analysis (DEA), a user-friendly product that has been widely used in health care in other countries, to calculate efficiency in the NHS. Routine data was taken from health providers and purchasing organisations and used to create information on efficiency based on DEA. Their views on the procedure were than sought. More than 80% felt that the technique could potentially be very useful, and the report concludes that the DEA method should be implemented on an experimental basis, to see if its potential value can be achieved.
H. Mooney and A. McLellan
Health Service Journal, Vol. 113, October 9th 2003, p.12-13
New Labour is currently promoting patient choice as a way of achieving equity of access to healthcare. They argue that the old monolithic NHS is necessarily inequitable because it is dominated by vested interests and open to behind-the-scenes manipulation. Giving patients greater control through the ability to exercise choice is regarded as the best way to counter this systemic inequity.
Financial Times, October 8th 2003, p.2
The Health Department said yesterday that applications to become foundation hospitals had been made by 32 of the 38 NHS trusts that had won three-star status this Summer.
J. Lightfoot and P. Sloper
Children and Society, vol. 17, 2003, p.277-290
Involving users, including young people, in NHS service development is increasingly emphasised in policy and practice. Paper presents findings of the second stage of a study which aimed to investigate involvement of young people with a chronic illness or physical disability in local health service development. Through an investigation of initiatives in six trusts, study sought to identify factors which can support involvement in ways which young patients find appropriate.
Financial Times, October 15th 2003, p.4
A health authority has advertised for National Health Service patients because surgeons were reluctant to refer them to an overseas team. Pearse Butler, Chief Executive of the Cumbria and Lancashire Strategic Health Authority, acted as overseas teams are being brought in to run most of the independent surgical treatment centres the government is commissioning from the private sector. He acted as too few patients came through.
Financial Times, October 21st 2003, p.6
Hospital consultants yesterday voted for a new contract amid doubts over whether it will prove good value for money for the National Health Service. After rejecting a previous deal a year ago consultants voted in favour of deal in which they will do out-of-hours non-emergency work only by agreement.
(See also Guardian, October 21st 2003, p.6; The Times, October 21st 2003, p.1)
Health Service Journal, Vol. 113, October 16th 2003, p.15
The article discusses the application of patient choice to services for people with chronic conditions. It emphasises the need to think about the whole person rather than the disease. Multi-disciplinary team assessment and collaborative working between professionals in different disciplines are essential.
J. Arnold and others
Loughborough University Business School, 2003
Research investigated perceptions of the NHS as an employer for the nursing and allied health professions (represented by physiotherapy and radiography). A total of 1356 people provided data. The study found that the best thing about working in the NHS was contact with patients. Job security, a good pension, task variety and team working were also valued. Understaffing and associated work pressures were the strongest barriers to working for the NHS. Issues to do with convenience, flexibility, length of working hours and low pay were also mentioned. Working for the NHS as a nurse or allied health professional was thought to be a rewarding career, but starting pay levels were often underestimated.
Health Service Journal, Vol.113, October 9th 2003, p.28-29
Sexual health appears to be an ideal candidate for a managed clinical network, although there are doubts about whether networks deliver better patient care. The article describes the development of the South West London HIV and Genito-Urinary Medicine Clinical Services Network set up in 2002.
Financial Times, October 16th 2003, p.2
Four NHS "fast-track" surgery centres have banded together to market potentially tens of thousands of operations a year to health service patients in a challenge to the private sector and new overseas independent treatment centres. Central Middlesex Hospital and Ravenscroft Park in West London have joined together with day care units at Kidderminster and Weston-Super-Mare to form NHS Elect, a trading organisation that offers operations to every health authority and trust in the country at NHS rates. In the future the alliance may advertise its services direct to patients.
Primary Care Report, Vol. 5, No. 15, September 24th 2003, p.14-17
From April 2004, any patient waiting longer than six months for an operation will have to be offered treatment at an alternative site. This could be at another NHS trust or a private hospital. The aim of the initiative is to incentivise trusts to reduce waiting times. The article explores how NHS bodies are planning to implement this change.
The Guardian, October 27th 2003, p.8
Reforms to sweep away Britain's Community Health Councils are facing crisis, following claims that the system of patient representation is being handed over to groups with little experience of how to run it. Up to 4,560 patients are needed for 575 new patients' forums around the country but few inside the government believe that the quango in charge, the Commission for Patient and Public Involvement in Health, will have an effective system in place by the deadline, despite the introduction of the new arrangements being delayed by three months, until Dec 1. The Commission is refusing to reveal how many forum members have been recruited so far.
E. Ferlie and M. Wood
Journal of Health Services Research & Policy, Vol. 8, Supp. 2, October 2003, p.51-57
This study investigates the mode of knowledge production in health services research, how the research is linked to users, the extent to which it is influenced by its funding base and the development and dissemination strategies of investigators. It is based on case studies of four contrasting health service research groups.
M. Hill and P. Morton
Children and Society, Vol. 17, 2003, p.291-304
A recent initiative in Scotland sought to engage children's interest in health matters and encourage them to take greater responsibility for their own health by means of a child health profile. This is a loose-leaf booklet containing personal data, health promotion material and space for recording discussions about an individual's health. The article describes the implementation of the profile on a pilot basis across three health boards and presents data obtained from children about their understanding, usage and views.
C. Ham, R. Kipping and H. McLeod
Milbank Quarterly, vol.81, 2003, p.415-439
NHS policymakers have focused on changing work processes in order to improve performance. Article analyses and uses the NHS's experience to identify lessons for future quality improvement initiatives. Focuses on one recent initiative, the national booked admissions programme, which illustrates both the opportunities and the challenges of introducing and sustaining change.
British Journal of Health Care Management, vol. 9, 2003, p.329-332
Report of an interview with Lord Hunt of Kings Heath, formerly government health spokesman in the House of Lords, covering primary care trusts, foundation trusts, the patient choice agenda, star ratings and financial flows within the NHS.
D. McNally and J. Peet
Working with Older People, Vol. 7, September 2003, p.18-21
Describes a project in Whiston and St Helens Hospitals to improve older people's experience of acute care and discharge through implementing the single assessment process.
The Independent, October 2nd 2003, p.5
Tens of thousands of hospital patients facing long waits for NHS care could be eligible to travel abroad for treatment and be reimbursed for the cost afterwards, a landmark judgement said yesterday. Mr Justice Munby ruled that a patient waiting "significantly" longer than three months for a hip operation had a legal right to have it free elsewhere. He admitted that his decision would have a profound impact on the health service, but said the EU was clear that member states could not refuse to pay for foreign treatment for patients facing "undue delay".
(See also The Times October 2nd 2003, p.1)
The Guardian, October 2nd 2003, p.11
Article notes the first patients at Britain's first purpose-built, walk-in private casualty unit, Casualty Plus, in Brentford, West London. The article lists the cost of basic treatment.
Primary Care Report, Vol. 5, No. 15, September 24th 2003, p.5-7
Private firms under contract to the NHS will run new diagnostic and treatment centres. There are concerns that they will siphon profitable routine surgery off from NHS acute hospitals, denying them a vital source of income. There are also fears they may poach staff.
Health Service Journal, vol.113, Oct. 23rd 2003, p.29
Foundation trusts will be established as public benefit corporations with attendant corporate duties and potential liabilities for directors. This means that the proposed long-term contracts with commissioning bodies will be legally binding. Article discusses the impact of patient choice on this framework. Patients may choose treatment outside of the local area and have a legitimate expectation of compliance with their choice, potentially leading to the destabilisation of the local health economy.