Education And Debate

Involving clinical professionals in managing and planning services

BMJ 1998; 316 doi: (Published 31 January 1998) Cite this as: BMJ 1998;316:379
  1. S T Athertona, director of medical services
  1. a St Helens and Knowsley Hospitals, Whiston Hospital, Prescot, Merseyside L35 5DR

    A change of government should bring a new and fresh approach to the problems of the NHS, which in turn will invigorate the service and go some way towards correcting the inequities of the past. It is in this spirit that the new white paper on the NHS has been received by most health professionals.

    From the doctors' perspective the important chapters are 4, 5, and 6—those on health authorities, primary care groups, and NHS trusts.

    Health authorities will be responsible for assessing the health needs of the population and drawing up strategies (health improvement programmes) to meet those needs in concert with all other agencies concerned, including organisations outside health care. This provides an opportunity to rethink our approach to planning patient care. Assessing needs first and subsequently determining the resources needed to meet those needs is an approach that should be …

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