New freedoms for Primary Care Trusts, to be set out in the latest Health Bill, will deliver 21st Century standards of care to patients all over the country, according to secretary of state for health Frank Dobson.
Announcing the moves, Dobson said: “The Government is determined to deliver a National Health Service fit for the 21st Century. The measures contained in the Health Bill will deliver that 21st Century care for patients. Nowhere will patients see the difference more than when they go to see local their GP or health centre.”
Dobson said that the introduction of Primary Care Groups, and the Primary Care Trusts that will be achieved through the new Bill, would deliver a system moulded to the needs of the patient, with the emphasis on choice and convenience.
He suggested that the Bill would allow:
Walk-in health centres on the high street.
More use of day surgery in health centres close to patients’ homes. Health checks and advice centres in new clinics.
Wider health partnerships, with GPs combining with dentists, opticians and pharmacists to provide a complete package of health services.
“New legal duties will makes sure, for the first time, that all parts of the NHS and social care work together in partnership and deliver the very best quality services. The old two-tier fund-holding system will go,” said Dobson.
He also stressed that the next century would see the NHS taking advantage of the latest information technology, with the introduction of NHS Net; an on-line appointment booking system; hospital test results dispatched via computer to doctors’ surgeries; and the introduction of individual Electronic Patient Records.