Intended for healthcare professionals


UK government to shift NHS power to community health care

BMJ 2006; 332 doi: (Published 02 February 2006) Cite this as: BMJ 2006;332:253
  1. Zosia Kmietowicz
  1. London

    GPs in England are being charged with developing a “new generation of community facilities” to provide patients with a range of medical and social care services closer to where they live, the government announced this week. The secretary of state for health, Patricia Hewitt, said that she wants to see 5% of the NHS budget for England—£4bn ($7bn; €6bn) a year—transferred from the secondary sector to primary care in the next 10 years. Currently, England spends 27% of its health budget on community services compared with 33% in European countries.

    “People in the NHS have told us for decades about shifting the emphasis of care from acute hospitals to primary care. We believe we can achieve this shift because of the reforms we have introduced and the support of the medical profession,” said Ms Hewitt. “With practice based commissioning and payment by results we are putting incentives into the system to shift resources out of acute hospitals …

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