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Health Insight August 2002: Big boost for day surgery

  Up to 120,000 more operations could become day cases under government plans to extend the range of day surgery. Health Minister, John Hutton, promised an extra £68 million over two years to fund the proposals; the policy is a key part of the government’s campaign to reduce waiting times for operations to just six months by 2005. Seventeen categories of surgery will include breast cancer operations, hernia repairs, and orthopaedic procedures on the knee and shoulder. Patient groups have responded to the news with caution. Mike Stone, of the Patients’ Association, said, ‘We have to welcome it, because patients don’t want to spend more time than they have to in hospital. But we have to make sure that patients are fit to be discharged and that there are systems available at home to look after them if they suffer any after-effects.’

Mr Hutton also announced ten fast-track diagnosis and treatment centres to provide quick ophthalmology, orthopaedics and general surgery care. The centres will be able to treat an extra 25,000 cases a year. Money has also been made available to fund one-stop primary care centres, housing GPs, pharmacists, dentists, opticians, health visitors and social services staff.

Source: The Times 17th August, BBC Online

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  Produced in United Kingdom by The British Council © 2001. The British Council is the United Kingdom's international organisation for educational and cultural relations. Registered in England as a Charity.