Health Service Journal, vol.115, Sept.22nd 2005, p.5
The government plans to reduce the number of ambulance trusts in England from 31 to 11, to fit broadly with government office regions. The new organisations may be re-branded as emergency care trusts to reflect wider roles.
Health Service Journal, vol.115, Sept.1st 2005, p.5-6
The Department of Health has instructed strategic health authorities not to include plans to transfer services run by primary care trusts to alternative providers in reconfiguration proposals which have to be submitted in October 2005. This follows vigorous lobbying by senior health service managers and membership organisations.
F. Adshead and D. Hunter
Health Service Journal, vol.115, Sept. 29th 2005, p.18-19
In order to improve the health of the nation, a combination of bottom-up change led by individuals and communities and government-led change through legislation is required. Authors debate whether the recent Choosing Health White Paper has got the balance between individual and collectivist approaches right.
Community Care, Sept.15th-21st 2005, p.30-32
By Spring 2007 there should be 3000 community matrons working across health and social care in England and Wales. They will take on the case management of people with long term conditions with a view to preventing emergency hospital admissions and enabling frail older and disabled people to stay in their own homes. Article describes a day in the life of a pioneer community matron.
Guardian, Sept. 1st 2005, p.10
First results of an incentive scheme which offers substantial bonuses for high achieving GP practices have caused a financial headache for primary care trusts. Practices have exceeded expectations and earned £630m in bonuses, well above the £430m anticipated. Trusts will be unable to recoup the additional £200m from the government.
Health Service Journal, vol.115, Sept. 8th 2005, p.20-21
Report of an interview with leading NHS manager Mike Farrar, in which he discusses the implications of the proposed primary care trust (PCT) reconfiguration. Merging primary care trusts so that their boundaries are co-terminous with those of local authorities should facilitate partnership working. However, as PCTs become larger, local informal groupings need to be put into place to maintain clinical engagement and community input. The proposed contracting out of services currently provided directly by PCTs should drive up quality by introducing competition.
C. Thatcher, W. Hand and P. Dickson
Health Service Journal, vol.115, Sept.8th 2005, p.28-30
Bradford City Teaching Primary Care Trust's Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF) score was the worst in the country. Article describes measures which the PCT has put into place to help practices improve their premises, their services and their IT infrastructure so that they can raise their QOF scores. Data gathered through a review of practices undertaken to support them in the QOF process has revealed gaps in services and areas where improvement is needed.
H. Mooney and M.-L. Harding
Health Service Journal, vol.115, Sept 15th 2005, p.14-15
To no-one's surprise, GP practices in affluent areas are benefiting most from financial bonuses awarded under the Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF). There is a need for the framework to be rebalanced to divert cash towards practices in deprived areas, which currently lack resources to improve services. Performance measures to reward practices for implementation of patient choice, improvement in the patient experience through empowerment, and putting in place policies to reduce health inequalities are under consideration. Government should also put in place measures to discourage fraud and gaming.
Health Service Journal, vol.115, Sept.8th 2005, p.5-9
Almost two thirds of respondents to a survey of primary care trust chief executives think that the government should put off its deadline for submissions on PCT reconfiguration until after the publication of the White Paper on healthcare outside hospitals at the end of 2005. The majority of chief executives accept the case for reform but argue that it is illogical to proceed in advance of the White Paper and that the timetable is too tight. Rushing ahead now will put clinical engagement at risk, lower staff morale and could lead to financial chaos.
Health Service Journal, vol.115, Sept. 1st 2005, p.10-11
The forthcoming primary and social care white paper is expected to propose that primary care trusts cease providing services directly and commission them from a range of private and voluntary sector providers. However, there is evidence that government has not considered exactly who is going to take on the army of workers, ranging from school nurses to prison health staff, currently employed by primary care trusts. No organisations currently operating in the market place are large enough to absorb them. The hope seems to be that new organisations will emerge offering a range of attractive packages to tempt staff who are not practising to return to their professions.