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Welfare Reform on the Web (February 2006): National Health Service - Reform - General

The 23-hour ward: an efficient alternative to day case surgery

K. Kok, C. Hayhurst and P.S. Wilson

British Journal of Health Service Management, vol.12, 2006, p.15-17

Day case cancellation rates due to lack of beds are unacceptably high in certain institutions. There are also worryingly high rates of emergency admissions of day surgery patients to acute wards. The authors propose the 23-hour ward as a possible solution as it can dramatically reduce both cancellation rates and the need for acute beds.

Back to basics

P. Dinsdale

Health Service Journal, vol.116, Jan. 5th 2006, p.20-22

Long periods on Incapacity Benefit lead to declining health and greater costs to the NHS. Possible moves to cut numbers on Incapacity Benefit include early provision of physiotherapy instead of orthopaedic surgery. It is estimated that around 70% of people on orthopaedic waiting lists could be treated effectively by physiotherapy and do not in fact require surgery.

Cameron rips up Tory policy and says: We believe in NHS

T. Helm and N. Fleming

Daily Telegraph, January 5th 2006, p.1

A speech to the Kings Fund by David Cameron marks a major break with previous Tory health policies, prompting criticism from both the Left and the Right. Cameron is seeking to reposition the party in the centre ground of politics, showing a commitment to free healthcare for all.

[See also Financial Times, January 4th 2006 p.2;: Daily Telegraph, January 5th 2006, p.22 & 23; Financial Times January 5th 2006, p.2; Guardian January 5th 2006, p.11]

Harness the power of information

A. Nolan

Health Service Journal, vol.116, Jan. 12th 2006, p.22-23

Clear, concise and accurate information is key to the success of the patient choice agenda. Article looks at how business marketing techniques can be used to target information to engage patients and clinicians in the process.

Hospital Trust attacked for taking heart patients off list

N. Timmins

Financial Times, January 3rd 2006, p2

50 heart patients deemed low-priority were refused operations by an Oxfordshire hospital because the cost would exceed what the NHS would pay it for carrying out the procedure. The adequacy of the “national tariff” is examined.

Improving policy-making in a ministry of health

C. Smee

Journal of Health Services Research and Policy, vol.11, 2006, p.2-3

Author argues that over the past two decades there have been major advances in the breadth, rigour and rationality of policy-making at the Department of Health in England. There have been major advances in six areas: 1) introduction of measurable objectives for most programmes; 2) improvements in policy costing; 3) implementation of systematic approaches to assessing costs and benefits of programmes; 4) closer central monitoring of policy implementation; 5) systematic review and evaluation of programmes; and 6) introduction of incentives to encourage new ways of working.

Listening to patients

L. Llewellyn

Health Service Journal, vol.116, Jan. 5th 2006, p.15

Author calls for better communication between patients and doctors to support the choice agenda and to help patients more effectively manage chronic conditions.

Moving from reactive to proactive care: the Welsh health agenda

B. Davies

Community Practitioner, vol.78, 2005, p.423-424

Report of an interview with Dr Brian Gibbons, Minister for Health and Social Services in Wales about his role in implementing a public health agenda focused on early intervention, with a particular emphasis on reforms in children’s services.

NHS set to miss target on patientsí waiting time

N. Timmins

Financial Times, January 4th 2006

By 2008 no patient should wait more than 18 weeks for hospital treatment after being referred by his/her GP. Achieving this target will require private sector input. No data on waits between referral and treatment currently exist.

Tories back greater use of private care to help NHS patients

T. Helm

Daily Telegraph January 3rd 2006, p.6

The NHS would remain free under David Cameron who has dropped the Tory’s “patient passport policy”, but more services would be opened up to competition. Private providers would be allowed to enter the market if they could meet cost and standards requirements.

The tsunami of reform: the fall and rise of the NHS

D.J. Hunter

British Journal of Health Service Management, vol.12, 2006, p.18-23

Author argues that the Labour government’s belief that marketisation and the introduction of competition between a plurality of providers will improve the NHS is misguided. Instead he proposes an approach which builds on the public service ethos. It should focus on the re-engagement of clinicians with NHS management using clinical governance as a development tool. Clinicians would then be in a position to exercise responsible autonomy.

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