Medicopolitical Digest

Health secretary wants to expand NHS servicesHospital league tables are misleadingMinister orders review of GP's out of hours servicesBMA responds to CMO's proposals

BMJ 2000; 320 doi: (Published 18 March 2000) Cite this as: BMJ 2000;320:808

Health secretary wants to expand NHS services

The UK health secretary, Alan Milburn, wants to improve the NHS occupational health services for NHS employees.

Giving the London School of Economics annual health lecture last week, Mr Milburn said that improving the quality of working life in the health services would help to increase the number of staff and hence the services provided. “Health care is one of the biggest knowledge based sectors of the economy,” he said, “and we cannot afford to lose highly skilled staff.”

The minister cited Walsall NHS Trust. The trust's occupational health department looks after 6000 staff at the trust as well as staff in neighbouring NHS organisations. But in addition Walsall sells its occupational health services to the local university and to 12 small factories. Mr Milburn said that he was exploring whether there was scope for the NHS generally to provide such a service.

He suggested that not only would the proposal benefit the NHS by helping to prevent and avoid injuries and sickness, but employers should be able to free up the £1bn they spent on private health insurance.

Hospital league tables are misleading

The usefulness of hospital …

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