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Welfare reform on the Web (October 2006): National Health Service - primary and community care

Care heads for the high street as Blair courts retail kings

J. Trueland

Health Service Journal, vol.116, Sept. 7th 2006, p.14-15

Government is showing an interest in making primary care more accessible by providing GP services through high street stores such as Boots or Sainsbury’s. The stores could either employ the doctors and offer the services themselves, or rent out space to the NHS.

Health visitor or public health nurse? A Scottish study

S. Wilson

Community Practitioner, vol.79, 2006, p. 289-292

Since 2000, the Scottish Executive and NHS Scotland have been promoting “public health nursing” as a new way forward for community practice. However there is great uncertainty about what the new public health role for health visitors means. In addition, since 2001 traditional health visitor and school nurse education programmes have been replaced by a single public health nurse training curriculum. This change in the training programme has not been accompanied by changes in job descriptions or traditional roles, leading to even more confusion for current and newly qualified staff.

Improving access with the “three minute surgery”

M. Gordon and D. Cliff

British Journal of Health Care Management, vol.12, 2006, p.268-271

The three minute surgery is a daily open access service in which two health care assistants facilitate access to a GP. The health care assistants work in adjacent consulting rooms. Each calls a patient into the consulting room, opens the computer record and notes the stated reason for attendance. Basic procedures are then undertaken as appropriate, e.g blood pressure or urine testing. The GP then takes over the consultation and brings it to a conclusion. He/she then moves on to attend to the patient in the next room while the health care assistant fills in forms and arranges follow-up appointments if necessary. This article presents the results of an evaluation of a three minute surgery scheme run by an inner city practice in South Yorkshire.

Integrating primary health care: leading, managing, facilitating

P. Thomas

Oxford: Radcliffe, 2006

This book offers a comprehensive analysis of the theory and practice of integration in primary health care. The four parts of the book have different purposes:

  • Part I explains why the integration of primary health care is important.
  • Part II deals with developing leadership skills.
  • Part III explores theories of integration.
  • Part IV describes useful techniques for integrating linear and systems thinking.

Obesity: private clubs help PCTs achieve the figures they want

T. Shifrin

Health Service Journal, vol.116, Sept.14th 2006, p.14-15

Reports that some primary care trusts are putting schemes in place to enable general practitioners to refer obese patients to privately run slimming clubs free of charge. Patients are given a voucher that allows them to attend a slimming course for free, with the NHS picking up the bill. Slimming clubs and courses avoid the side effects of drug treatment regimes and promote healthy lifestyles.

Overweight children: the role of the public health practitioner

R. Godson

Community Practitioner, vol.79, 2006, p.279-280

Article discusses the role of community practitioners in working with families to prevent obesity in children through promotion of healthy lifestyles. They also have a vital role to play in the treatment of children who are already overweight.

Parents’ views of a family health assessment

K. Sanders

Community Practitioner, vol.79, 2006, p.284-288

The Family Health Assessment was developed with the intention that health visitors should actively involve parents in the assessment of their health needs. This study aimed to evaluate its use from the perspective of parents with pre-school children. Some parents reported that its use with a health visitor had been a positive experience because it had enabled them to identify their health needs and access appropriate advice and support. Other parents did not find it particularly useful as they did not feel the assessment was relevant to them at the time and did not understand why they were being asked some of the questions.

Publics, patients, citizens, consumers? Power and decision making in primary health care

G.D. Callaghan and G. Wistow

Public Administration, vol.84, 2006, p.583-601

Successive governments in the UK have expressed an intention of involving patients and the public in decision making about health services. This article explores why little real progress has been made in extending involvement. Using findings from qualitative research that explored approaches taken by the dominant professional groups on primary care group boards to involving patients and the public, it considers how these approaches reflect the exercise of different forms and levels of power. The explanation combines Lukes’ categorisation of three forms of power with Bourdieu’s dynamic conceptualisation of the relations of habitus and field.

Welcoming diversity

P. Shaw

Community Practitioner, vol.79, 2006, p.277-278

Report of a seminar which considered the role of black and minority ethnic professionals in tackling health inequalities within their communities. However, there is a need for better training for all health professionals on cultural issues if the NHS is to address the needs of patients from minority ethnic groups.

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