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NHS news in brief

Our weekly round of NHS and healthcare stories

Hewitt outlines next steps of NHS reform

UK health secretary Patricia Hewitt has set out a two-year programme for the next stages of NHS reform. She said that financial reforms would continue to tackle deficits and ensure better value for money, while fairer funding would go to deprived areas, enabling GPs in the areas of the greatest health inequalities commission services to improve health outcomes. She also defended the use of markets in the health sector, saying continued use would be made of the independent sector to achieve waiting list reductions. However, campaign group Keep Our NHS Public has argued that the reforms are the cause of, rather than the solution to the funding crisis. ìThe introduction of the market and payment by results is having a catastrophic effect on the nation's access to healthcare,î said the group's spokesman Alex Nuns.

Patients overestimate their rights, says survey

Many British patients believe they have more right to fast treatment, choice of doctor or performance data than they actually do, according to a new poll of 1,000 people commissioned by the Patients Association. Some 90 per cent of those surveyed thought the NHS gave patients the right to be treated in a hospital that meets government standards. Two-thirds also said they had a right to be treated or have an operation before their condition worsened, but the Patients Association said the only goals that had to be met were waiting list targets. While the poll revealed over 80 per cent thought they had the right to choose their GP, patients can only choose a GP practice if they live in their catchment area.

NICE guide on guidance

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has launched a guide on how to put its guidance into practice within the NHS. Split into three parts, the first two focus on organisations directly responsible for implementation and the third focuses on commissioning organisations, such as Primary Care Trusts. ìWe have based the advice on learning from our work with NHS organisations across the country, feedback received from workshops and published literature,î said NICE implementation systems director, Dr Gillian Leng.

30th September 2008

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