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Stronger voice for the public on primary care

The Department of Health has published a new strategy that will give patients and the public a stronger voice
The Department of Health (DH) has published a new strategy that will give patients and the public a stronger voice, enabling them to make informed decisions and have greater choice and control over the management of their health and healthcare.

Our Vision for Primary and Community Care, which forms part of the NHS Next Stage Review, lay outs a future where primary and community care standards ensure professional excellence is rewarded. It calls for more personal and responsive healthcare, which is integrated and based around the patient.

"People tell us that they want to be more involved in decisions about their healthcare and that primary and community care should be more individual, convenient and joined up," said health services minister, Ben Bradshaw. "Change will only come from listening more closely to what users tell us, responding to that and giving them more choice and say over their healthcare."

The DH says that the strategy builds on £250m extra investment and recent initiatives in primary care. Some of the ideas being put forward include listening and responding to what people think, giving people greater choice of GP, with online registration. In addition, people with long-term conditions will be given personalised care plans, while people with complex, long-term conditions will be assigned a care co-ordinator - a scheme that will be in place by 2010.

Professor Michael Dixon, a GP from Devon, chair of the NHS Alliance and member of the Primary and Community Care Advisory Board, said: "As a charter for renewed and refreshed general practice, the next challenge will be for us GPs to provide innovation and leadership that will enable the strategy to make a real difference for our patients."

The full report and a breakdown of the strategy can be viewed on the DH website

3rd July 2008

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