London to have single NHS region

BMJ 1998; 316 doi: (Published 30 May 1998) Cite this as: BMJ 1998;316:1625
  1. John Warden, parliamentary correspondent
  1. BMJ

    A single London region of the NHS, with consequent changes in other regional offices in the south of England, was announced last week by the health secretary, Frank Dobson.

    Although the changes are classed merely as internal and management related, they will facilitate later changes in service delivery through the proposed health improvement programmes and more flexible working between health and social services. A consultation paper is being prepared on the issue, to be followed by a white paper on social services.

    At present, health services in London are covered by two regions: North and South Thames, extending over the whole of the southeast. From April 1999 a single London regional office will share a boundary with the planned Greater London Authority. The change was proposed in the Turnberg report on London's health services (14 February, p 496).

    Consequent changes will mean the replacement of other regional offices of the NHS Executive in the South and West and Anglia and Oxford. They are replaced by the South East region (which will cover health authorities in Kent, Surrey, Sussex, Hampshire, the Isle of Wight, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire, and Northamptonshire) and the Eastern region (which will cover health authorities in Norfolk, Suffolk, Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, and Hertfordshire). The South Western region will exclude Hampshire and the Isle of Wight. Four of the eight existing NHS regions in England are unaffected—Trent, Northern and Yorkshire, North West, and West Midlands.

    The boundaries of the Department of Health's social care regional offices are also being adjusted to bring them into line with the new NHS regions and promote more effective joint working between health and social care.

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