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A faulty production line

Coalition cites removing practice boundaries as one of its 'significant improvements' for the NHS

The coalition Government has cited their pilots abolishing practice boundaries for commuters in certain cities as a major success in its mid-term progress report, despite the late start of the project and disappointing numbers of patients taking part.

The practice boundaries pilots was cited - alongside the formation of CCGs and increasing the health budget ‘in real terms’ - as one of the three ways the coalition Government had ‘improved the NHS’ since taking power in 2010.

The document also cites other successes that have ‘reduced preventable early death’, such as the Cancer Drugs Fund, increasing the number of doctors in the NHS and saving £2.7 billion by the end of 2012/13 by cutting administrative staff.

It also said it has brought the ‘technology revolution’ to the NHS by setting out an information strategy in the NHS Mandate, by making GPs and patient files available online by 2015, and through a five-year plan for three billion patients to access telehealth.

It said it will continue to prevent early death through the system of revalidation and improve standards of care through the ‘friends and family test’.

But the use of the practice boundaries pilots as a success is the biggest surprise in the document, with Pulse reporting last year that only 12 patients within the first three months of the project had switched their GP practice.

The report said: ‘The NHS we inherited was overly centralised, insufficiently responsive to patients and ill-equipped to handle both the demands of an ageing population and the rising costs of treatment.

‘That is why, as well as protecting the health budget, we have reformed the NHS, giving patients and communities more choice and a stronger voice. This combination of investment and reform is starting to deliver significant improvements in outcomes and productivity.’


The coalition Government’s key improvements to the NHS:

  1. Increasing the health budget in real terms in 2011/12 and for each subsequent year of this Parliament;
  2. Starting to devolve commissioning of most health services to GP-led clinical commissioning groups, with at least one practising nurse and a secondary care specialist on each of their governing bodies; and
  3. Allowing patients in six trial primary care trusts to register or receive a consultation with a GP practice of their choice.

Source: HM Government’s Mid-Term Review

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  • prime minister david cameron and nick clegg

Readers' comments (5)

  • just reading the official Cabinet Office release on the NHS, not impressed.
    If this was supposed to show how much this Cons/LibDem government has acheived and is planning, they might at least check facts - especially where it is easy for the - presumed - audience to check them!

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  • Actually the words are carefully chosen and reflect the ‘modest outcome’ of their efforts.

    "“ allowing patients in six trial primary care trusts to register or receive a consultation with a GP practice of their choice. “"

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  • I don't like my MP can I have one from elsewhere?

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  • Vinci Ho

    So , are Tory and Lib Dem voters going to give this government credits based on these 'improvements'
    For the rest of us , the truth is out there mate ........

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  • Choice is an illusion. The way this government (+the last one) is changing the contract/pension/QoF etc. practices will become unviable or unable to provide all aspects of primary care. They then will be swallowed up by Atos and Virgin healthcare and the like. Then your choice will be of the nearest large practice and 5 miles will seem like next door!
    I don't drive past 3 Tescos to get to a 4th and Sainsburys and Morrison are much the same so localism has gone in grocery terms. I can receive the same service in each; Fortnum+Mason is only available to those that will 'pay' however much we'd all like that. And so it will be big practices with costs and profit at it's heart rather than patients will be your choice.

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