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Welfare Reform on the Web (March 2005): National Health Service - Primary and Community Care

EYES SHUT TO SOCIAL CARE

M. Hunter

Community Care, Feb.10th-16th 2005, p.24-25

Argues that the government's new strategy for supporting people with long term illnesses snubs social workers. It is essentially a medical strategy targeted on people with severe ans complex needs and focused on reducing emergency hospital admissions.

GPS SOUND ALARM OVER CASH SHORTAGE FOR CARE AT NIGHT

S. Lister

The Times, Feb. 15th 2005, p.25

Primary Care Trusts took over responsibility for providing out-of-hours care after a large majority of GPs opted out of providing cover under the terms of their new contract. GP co-operatives which now provide cover under contract claim to be underfunded by about 10% a year.

GPS WANT CHOOSE AND BOOK, BUT IS THE SYSTEM WORKABLE?

T. Coffey and A. Burns

Health Service Journal, vol.115, Feb.17th 2005, p.20-21

GP Tom Coffey argues that the new electronic system for booking hospital appointments will be a drain on the time of family doctors and depends on IT systems which are not fully developed. Alan Burns, national IT programme implementation director, refutes these arguments and emphasises the benefits the new system brings to patients.

HEALTH VISITING TO FAMILIES AT HOME

W. Barker

Community Practitioner, vol.78, 2005, p.62-65

There is currently a drive for health visitors to expand their public health promotion role. Author calls instead for a return to a restructured form of home visiting, which focuses on fostering parenting skills and empowering families to find their own solutions to problems.

HIGH STREET CHEMISTS WILL LEAD WAR ON SEX INFECTION

S. Lister

The Times, Feb. 9th 2005, p.30

The Department of Health is inviting independent healthcare providers to submit bids to pilot free Chlamydia screening for 16-24 year old women in community pharmacies in London and Cornwall. If successful, the initiative will be extended across England.

(See also Financial Times, Feb. 9th 2005, p.5)

A NEW SHOW IN TOWN

A. Nolan and A. Dix

Health Service Journal, vol.115, Feb. 10th 2005, p.26-31

From April 1st 2005 practice-based commissioning will be operational, meaning that practices can request indicative budgets from their primary care trusts. Article looks at the risks and rewards of the new approach, and presents a case study of a group of Surrey GPs who have joined forces to form a contracting organisation. The object of the new system appears to be to give practices financial incentives to cut hospital referrals and find cheaper alternative ways to treat patients.

REFORMING NHS DENTISTRY: ENSURING EFFECTIVE MANAGEMENT OF RISKS

National Audit Office

London: TSO, 2004 (House of Commons papers, session 2004/05; HC25)

Report analyses the risks inherent in the planned reform of NHS dentistry. These include:

  • inexperience of primary care trusts in commissioning dental services;
  • need to incentivise dentists to use capacity freed up by changed working methods to take on socially disadvantaged patients;
  • risk of "undertreatment" following the abandonment of the piece work payment system;
  • risk of a continuing shortage of dentists;
  • with the move towards prevention, income from patient charges may fall;
  • risk that patients will not understand their entitlements.
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