Department of Health and Social Care
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Interim report on the next stage of the NHS

Interim report on the next stage of the NHS

DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH News Release (2007/0286) issued by The Government News Network on 4 October 2007

Patients to have better access to GPs at weekends and in the evening

100 new GP practices to open in areas with the worst provision

150 new health centres to open 7 days a week, 8 to 8

MRSA screening for all elective and emergency admissions

Improving the quality of patient care to ensure a universally world-class health service, outlined as an essential goal by Lord Darzi in his interim report on the future of the NHS, was welcomed today by the Secretary of State Alan Johnson.

The interim report on the 'Our NHS, Our Future' review, published today, sets out Lord Darzi's emerging vision to develop an NHS which will deliver effective, higher quality services that are safe, personalised to individual needs, and equally available to all.

To achieve this, greater influence must be placed in the hands of local NHS staff and others working in partnership across the service, based on the best available evidence, using the latest technological innovations and responding to the needs of local communities.

Alan Johnson said:

"I am pleased to welcome the interim report that Lord Darzi is publishing today. This report draws on evidence of good practice from this country and around the world. It is the start of developing the next stage in the NHS journey - world class in all respects: safe, accessible and of the highest quality.

"Lord Darzi has set out a clear vision for the future which will now be developed for the final report to coincide with the 60th Anniversary of the NHS next year. It is clear, however, that there are some areas where we can, and should, make progress immediately.

"I am today announcing a major package of changes to improve access to GP services across the country so that more people can see a GP where they want to and at a time they want to. This is a massive investment in primary care provision and will benefit millions of patients across the country.

"The report also makes clear that safety underlies everything we do in the NHS. So, building on the measures we have already announced to tackle hospital infections, we now plan to screen all elective admissions for MRSA next year, building to all emergency admissions over the next three years."

The new package to improve accessibility and availability of GPs includes:

- PCTs will work with all new and existing GP practices in their areas to develop greater flexibility in opening hours - our aim is that at least half of all GP practices will open on Saturday mornings or one or more evenings each week.

- Over 100 new GP practices, including up to 900 GPs, nurses and health care assistants in the 25% of PCTs with the poorest provision. These new practices will increase capacity and offer an innovative range of services, including extended opening hours. They will improve health outcomes in these areas, with more targeted and preventive interventions that identify and tackle illness at an earlier stage.

- New resources to enable PCTs to set up 150 GP-run health centres open 7 days a week, 8am to 8pm, situated in easily accessible locations and offering a range of services to ensure more patients have access to GP treatment and advice at a time that is convenient to them, including pre-bookable appointments and walk-in-services and other services.

- To help people choose their GP and switch if they are unhappy, key information about all GP practices - including the results of the patient survey, practice opening times and performance against key quality indicators - will be made available on a single website, NHS Choices via

- To help develop future strategy on primary care a new advisory board will be appointed that includes GPs, community nurses and other health and care professionals. The following have already agreed to help lead this work:

- Dr Sam Everington (GP in East London and Member of BMA Council) will lead on GP access

- Dr Michael Dixon (a GP in Devon and Chair of the NHS Alliance) will lead on practice based commissioning.

- Professor Mayur Lakhani (GP in Leicestershire and outgoing Chairman of the Royal College of General Practitioners) will lead on GP specialisation

- Sir John Oldham (GP in Glossop and former head of the Improvement Foundation) will lead on incentives

- Ursula Gallagher (Community Nurse and Director of Quality, Ealing PCT)

- Andrew Burnell (Community Nurse and Director of Provider Services and Nursing, Hull PCT)

- Paul Farmer (Chief Executive, MIND)

- Anne Williams (President of ADASS)

- Alwen Williams (CE, Tower Hamlets PCT)

- Dr David Colin-Thome (National Clinical Director for Primary Care)

The new steps to tackle hospital infections, like MRSA and C difficile, include:

- Introduce MRSA screening for all elective admissions next year, and for all emergency admissions as soon as possible over the next three years.

- Introducing annual infection control inspections of all acute trusts using teams of specialist inspectors.

Taking forward the second stage of 'Our NHS, Our Future' at a local level Lord Darzi today announced the appointment of 72 doctors, nurses and other health and social care professionals as clinical champions to lead the next stage of the review in Strategic Health Authorities across England (excluding NHS London).

The clinical champions will look at eight key health issues that can affect people at different stages in our lives, from maternity and children's health care, through long term health, mental health care to end of life care. Together and through talking to their colleagues, patients and others and using the best available evidence, this taskforce will help identify what it will take over the next decade to provide a world class NHS providing personalised care to patients and their families and relatives.


Notes to editors

1. A full copy of the interim report can be downloaded from

2. In order to help understand how best to meet these challenges Lord Darzi has spoken to 1,500 NHS staff in 17 NHS organisations, read more than 1,400 letters and emails from people up and down the country and taken part in a nationwide day of detailed discussions on the priorities for the NHS with 1,000 patients, public and health and social care staff in 9 different towns and cities.

3. For more information go to