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Education And Debate

The new health authorites: moving forward, moving back?

BMJ 1998; 316 doi: (Published 17 January 1998) Cite this as: BMJ 1998;316:215
  1. Jonathan Boycea, director, health studies,
  2. Tara Lamonta, project manager
  1. aAudit Commission, London SW1P 2PN

    There is much to celebrate in the new white paper. The emphasis on quality and partnership both within and outside the health service is welcome. Longer term agreements will replace the stop-start demands of the annual contracting round, and the need for strategic coherence is recognised: indeed, this government is not afraid of the word “planning.” But perhaps the most radical aspect of the white paper is its commitment to keep primary care “in the driving seat in shaping local health services.” This will attract the most attention-not least because the “problem” of general practitioner fundholding was one of the main triggers for a review of the NHS. But it begs many questions:

    • Will the new primary care groups really be in the …

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