Medicopolitical Digest

Medicopolitical digestHealth service in Ulster will be less bureaucraticThere must be “compelling reasons” for trust mergersPassive smoking affects babies' and children's healthNHSE agrees to negotiate over millennium pay

BMJ 1999; 318 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.318.7188.947 (Published 03 April 1999) Cite this as: BMJ 1999;318:947

Health service in Ulster will be less bureaucratic

In its response to the consultation paper, Fit for the Future, on the future of the health service in Northern Ireland the government has taken on board many of the profession's suggestions.

It will be up to the province's new assembly, which will be responsible for health, to decide how the government's plans should be implemented, but the government has said that unnecessary bureaucracy should be eliminated and the integration of health and personal social services strengthened.

The profession's representatives proposed that the four health boards should be abolished; this has been accepted. They will be replaced by five health and social care partnerships under the control of primary care professionals to assess health and social care needs. These will be made up of several primary care cooperatives which will oversee commissioning at local level, but there is no intention that they will progress to trust status. They will cover communities of around 50 000 to 100 000 people. The profession also recommended the reduction in the …

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