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Blair launches radical NHS plan for England

BMJ 2000; 321 doi: (Published 05 August 2000) Cite this as: BMJ 2000;321:322
  1. Linda Beecham
  1. BMJ

    Prime Minister Tony Blair has launched a reform programme for the NHS in England that he believes will once again make it “the healthcare system the world most envies.”

    The NHS Plan: A plan for Investment, a Plan for Reform proposes changes to consultants' and GPs' contracts; promises more doctors and nurses; sets targets for waiting times for treatment; recommends a concordat between the NHS and the private sector; and aims to reduce inequalities.

    Tony Blair criticised consultants' and GPs' contracts, which he said were “outdated and inflexible.”

    The government has ruled out “buying out” consultants in private practice, which it estimated would cost at least £700m ($1050m). Instead, newly qualified consultants will be contracted to work exclusively for the NHS for “perhaps the first seven years” of their career, providing eight fixed sessions and more of the out of hours service.

    The right to undertake private practice will depend on fulfilling job plans and NHS service requirements. If agreement cannot be reached on these changes the government says that it will consider introducing a new specialist grade for newly qualified hospital specialists. In addition, all existing consultants will have to work seven fixed sessions a week.

    Distinction awards and discretionary points, which provide £170m a year in superannuable bonus payments for senior doctors, will be merged into a single, …

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