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Health Insight May 2001:
Outpatient changes needed

  The NHS Confederation, which represents managers in the health service, has called for major changes to the way in which outpatient services are provided. Over twelve million patients visit outpatients each year but the National Patient Access Team has said that 30–70 per cent of the services provided do not ‘add value’ for the patient. The NHS Confederation proposes, in its document Managing Outpatients, that there should be specialist GPs, nurses and therapists. This would in many cases make it unnecessary to refer patients to see a consultant in an outpatient clinic. It argues that outpatient services as they are at present are built on ‘the British tradition of queuing’ and that ‘simply investing in more capacity will not deliver the type of improvements sought by the NHS Plan.’

The proposals have already come in for criticism from several quarters but they have been endorsed by Alan Milburn who has welcomed the report.

Sources: Health Service Journal 5 April

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