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NHS news in brief

Our weekly round-up of news in brief

Toughest challenges ahead, warns NHS Confederation
Old primary care trusts (PCTs) were beginning to deliver significant improvements for patients just as the government began a major phase of their reorganisation, according to a new NHS Confederation report. However, the association has warned that the toughest challenges lie ahead for PCTs and has called on the government to give new trusts the freedom to improve services for their local communities. ìThe government must stop tinkering with management structures and give trusts the freedom and space to get on with working with clinicians to improve services,î said NHS Confederation director of policy, Nigel Edwards. ìThe new PCTs will be crucial in transforming the way that care is delivered - making non-urgent and non-critical services more accessible in local community settings and making sure that hospitals concentrate on treating the very ill.î

Cameron calls for independent NHS
Conservative leader, David Cameron, has called for cross-party support for an NHS Independence Bill, which he wants to publish in the New Year. In a speech to the think-tank, the King's Fund, he also called for politicians to be taken out of the day-to-day running of the NHS. ìThe NHS matters too much to be treated like a political football,î he said. ìLet's work together to improve the NHS for everyone. Let's give the NHS fair funding, and let's give taxpayers better value for money by getting rid of the targets and bureaucracy and pen-pushing that's all about politicians' priorities.î

Access to hospices unequal, says charity
The government should act quickly to ensure everyone with a terminal illness has access to hospice care, according to the campaigning charity, Help the Hospices. In a report, the group found many groups, including homeless people and those with learning difficulties, fail to access adequate services. It blamed problems with referral processes and lack of funding, saying provision varies around the country. David Praill, chief executive at Help the Hospices, said hospices were working to improve services but could not do so in isolation. ìIssues surrounding access to care need to be looked at as part of a national strategy for end of life care,î he commented.

30th September 2008

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