NHS Confederation responds to primary and community care strategy

Thursday, 03 July, 2008

Bryan Stoten, chair of the NHS Confederation, which represents over 95 per cent of NHS organisations, says:

"This is good news for the health service and patients - putting the public right at the heart of a responsive and personalised NHS. This strategy presents opportunities for partners across primary care to work together to improve patient care and this is something that clinicians will be keen to engage with. We know people increasingly want a greater say in their health services and control of their own care. Stronger focus on patient choice, supported by better quality information will be central to making improvements happen. Innovations like myhealthspace and online registration will help keep the NHS in tune with changing expectations and help the service improve its relationship with the public.

"We support the idea of pilots of individual budgets for healthcare. There is much to be learnt from social care where direct budgets have been policy for some years but the take-up of these is still quite low.

"The Confederation welcomes the emphasis on reducing health inequalities and unacceptable variation in standards. This will require fairer funding in general practice; we need to review the payment system and abolish the Minimum Income Practice Guarantee, as long advocated by the NHS Confederation. We're delighted this has been taken on board"

David Stout, Director of the Primary Care Trust Network, says:

"It is crucial that the emphasis on locally designed services is followed through - the NHS doesn't want a national blue print for what local services should look like.

"The strategy reinforces the role of PCTs as local leaders of the NHS. They will work with local clinicians and with the local public and patients to foster innovation, reduce health inequalities and drive up standards of care in primary and community services. Key to making improvements will be engaging with staff and their motivation to make things better."

"We support proposals to reinvigorate practice based commissioning as effective clinical engagement is critical. However more work is needed on how best to achieve this, with greater separation of the roles of practices as providers of healthcare from the input of clinicians to the commissioning process. Clinical engagement in commissioning also needs to go beyond Practice Based Commissioning to include clinicians from all provider organisations."

Liz Kendall, director of the Ambulance Service Network, says:

"We're pleased to see the emphasis on developing access to a range of urgent care services available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, including ambulance services and rapid response teams, GPs, pharmacies and walk in centres. The introduction of new measures of patient satisfaction with urgent and out of hours services will be a helpful step in delivering world class outcomes for patients.

"We also welcome plans for further work assessing potential for new single number for urgent care, as called for by the ambulance service network in its recent report A Vision for emergency and urgent care: the role of ambulance services."

Sue Slipman, director of the Foundation Trust Network says:

"The Foundation Trust Network welcomes the focus on opportunities the strategy provides for foundation trusts to become more involved in developing the local health economy and investing in services for patients."

Alastair Henderson, acting director of NHS Employers said:

"We welcome the proposal to allow employees moving to social enterprises to remain in the NHS pension scheme as it will certainly encourage transfers and reassure staff. We still need to understand the detail and it is important that arrangements do not inadvertently create any new barriers to change."

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