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Welfare Reform on the Web (September 2004): National Health Service - Reform - General

AN ALARMING DESIRE TO CONTROL

M. Britnell

Health Service Journal, vol.114, Aug. 18th 2004, p.17

National regulatory and inspection bodies are working to maintain control of foundation trusts and negate the new agenda of patient choice and devolved decision-making.

AS THE PATIENT VOICE GROWS LOUDER, IT IS TIME TO SEE WHO'S LISTENING

C. Shannon

Health Service Journal, vol.114, Aug.12th 2004, p.12-13

Improvement of the "patient and user experience" has been included in public service agreement targets for the NHS. There is some scepticism that the patient's individual and collective voice will be listened to in the light of the abolition of the Commission for Patient and Public Involvement in Health, which provided support to local patient forums. Article goes on to outline various local patient choice initiatives.

BLACK HOLE OF DESPAIR SWALLOWS UP STARS THAT FELL TO EARTH

D. Carlisle

Health Service Journal, vol.114, Aug.5th 2004, p.10-11

Hospitals which lost stars in the 2004 ratings published by the Healthcare Commission have raised concerns about the volatility of the system. They have questioned the thresholds of the balanced scorecard element of the assessment, the statistical differences between meeting and missing targets, and the integrity of self-assessed indicators.

BLUNDERING HOSPITALS ARE 'KILLING 40,000 PATIENTS A YEAR'

N. Woolcock and M. Henderson

The Times, August 13th 2004, p.1

One in ten patients admitted to NHS hospitals will fall victim to medical errors. Medical accidents contribute to the death of 72,000 people a year, and they are directly blamed for 40,000. They also cost the NHS £2 billion in increased hospital stays alone, an independent audit reveals today.

CATCH ME IF YOU CAN: HOSPITALS BATTLE TO COME CLEAN ON MRSA

A. Moore

Health Service Journal, Vol.114, Aug.12th 2004, p.10-11

There are huge variations between acute trusts in incidence of MRSA infections. This is attributable to:

  • importation of already infected patients into specialist hospitals;
  • very high levels of bed occupancy, which prevents thorough cleaning between patients;
  • failure by staff and visitors to wash their hands properly;
  • lack of single rooms to isolate infected patients.

DOCTORS SUFFERING FROM AN EPIDEMIC OF STRESS

S. Lister

The Times, August 18th 2004, p.1

Nearly a quarter of doctors are so stressed that they would be listed as psychiatric cases if they were seen by a mental health specialist. Researchers from University College London undertook a 12-year study to assess doctors' vulnerability and found that 22 per cent were suffering at 30 years of age from a basic mental disorder.

FORCE FOR GOOD

E. Peck

Society Guardian, August 25th 2004, p.2-3

Ministers want citizens to be responsible for their actions. But can we be made to lead a healthy lifestyle? And should we punished if we fail? Article discusses our obligations to the NHS.

FOUNDATION HOSPITALS 'STRANGLED BY RED TAPE'

D. Charter

The Times, August 31st 2004, p.1

Foundation hospital chiefs are worried that the Government's flagship NHS reform programme is being strangled by bureaucrats and unexpected changes to the original vision. Foundation hospital chiefs are unhappy with plans drawn up for the Department of Health to cap their profits and force them to hand them over to other NHS bodies.

GOING STRAIGHT: THE PROMISE TO END HIDDEN WAITING TIMES

L. Whitfield

Health Service Journal, vol.114, Aug.5th 2004, p.12-13

The government has set a new target that by 2008 nobody should wait more than 18 weeks from GP referral to hospital treatment. Article identifies long waits for diagnostic tests as a major obstacle to achieving this target.

A HARD SELL

D. Morgan

Health Service Journal, vol.114, Aug. 19th 2004, p.18-19

The article calls for improvements to breast cancer services through:

  • reduction in long waits for diagnosis;
  • better communication between healthcare professionals and patients;
  • more involvement of patients in treatment decisions;
  • implementations of NICE guidelines across the board;
  • better education for women about their risks of developing the disease.

HEAR AND NOW

M.L. Harding and E. Forrest

Health Service Journal, vol.14, Aug. 19th 2004, p.24-25

The article discusses progress in the Patients Accelerating Change programme which puts the public in the driving seat of innovation in the NHS.

MINISTER TO CLOSE LOOPHOLES ALLOWING NHS TO POACH NURSES FROM POOR COUNTRIES

J. Carvel

The Guardian, August 26th 2004, p. 6

The government has promised to close loopholes that have allowed NHS hospitals to poach thousands of nurses and doctors from developing countries with a shortage of medical staff. But the Royal College of Nursing said the problem would not be solved unless the ban was extended to the private sector.

NHS FACES MASS EXODUS OF SENIOR DOCTORS

S. Lister

The Times, August 23rd, 2004, p.1

Thousands of the country's most experienced doctors are expected to quit the NHS within three years after the introduction of a new contract which means they can retire early on full pensions.

NHS PATIENTS WILL NEED THREE CARDS

J. Carvel

The Guardian, August 17th 2004, p. 4

NHS patients will need three separate identity cards to demonstrate their entitlement to free care and navigate the health service, according to plans published by the Department of Health. The proposals include a European health insurance card to replace the E111 form, which entitles UK residents to reduced cost emergency treatment when travelling in Europe. This is in addition to the NHS smartcard that is being developed to allow patients to book hospital appointments and access their personal "health space" on the internet. The department is also keen to get patients to use a third plastic card - the proposed national identity card - as proof of entitlement to NHS services.

NHS REFORMS A PRESCRIPTION FOR DISASTER, SAYS ACADEMIC

R. Jaggi

Financial Times, August 3rd 2004, p.4

Reforms being made to Britain's National Health Service could prove as disastrous as rail privatisation, according to Professor Allyson Pollcock. In his book, NHS plc, he says that unless the government has a change of heart, its policy will drastically undermine healthcare provision. Thanks to Labour's strategy of privatisation and public-private partnerships companies

are cherry-picking high-value areas and not addressing important aspects such as caring for those with long-term illnesses that cannot be cured, only managed, she argues.

POWER TO THE PEOPLE

D. Pink and C. Prior

Health Service Journal, vol.114, Aug.5th 2004, p.16-17

The article calls for partnership working between the NHS and people with chronic illnesses. People with long-term conditions are experts on their own complaints, and could be trained to take control of them to free up the time of health and social care staff. In order to achieve this goal, patients need early diagnosis and assessment, high quality information and advice, positive partnerships with health professionals and effective treatments that are available to all.

"THEY'VE ALREADY HAD FIVE YEARS' EXTRA DISPENSATION SO YOU'D THINK THEY'D HAVE GOT IT RIGHT"

A. Moore

Health Service Journal, vol.114, Aug. 19th 2004, p.10-11

The European Working Time Directive which requires NHS trusts to bring the working week of a junior hospital doctor down to 58 hours is now in force. Despite enormous efforts, 100% compliance with the directive remains a fantasy. In many cases where compliance is achieved it appears fragile, and reliant on the good will of junior staff to work extra hours voluntarily.

TOO TIGHT A SPOTLIGHT

B. Middleton

Health Service Journal, vol.114, Aug. 12th 2004, p.16-17

Chronic disease management has been included in public service agreements between the Department of Health and the Treasury for the first time. Successful self-management of chronic conditions by the patient requires the delivery of personalised systematic support through regular reviews based on accurate registers and care plans.

WARNING OVER WOMEN'S ROLE IN MEDICINE BACKED BY MALE PEERS

A. Akbar

The Independent, August 3rd 2004, p.18-19

Professor Carol Black, president of the Royal College of Physicians, proposed that having too many female doctors risked lowering medicine's status and that a female-dominated profession could lose its power. More than half those entering doctoral work and research are women.

(See also The Daily Telegraph, August 3rd 2004, p.6)

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