OBJECTIVES: To establish the extent of Occupational Health (OH) service provision in the National Health Service (NHS). METHODS: Two postal questionnaires were used to obtain information from purchasers and providers in the NHS in England and Wales. RESULTS: 99.6% of trust and health authority employers claim to provide some form of OH service to their employees indicating widespread recognition of need, but virtually no service is provided to other staff such as general practitioners (GPs), general dental practitioners (GDPs), and their staff. There is a wide variability in the range and quality of OH services, suggested by the enormous differences in medical staffing levels, and the contractual restrictions where the OH service is provided by another NHS employer. Only about a third (highest estimate) to a quarter (lowest estimate) of NHS staff have access to a specialist occupational physician. CONCLUSIONS: Substantial inequality of access to OH services exists for the NHS workforce, despite previous guidance. There is no real evidence to suggest why the extent of provision of OH services varies so greatly between institutions.
Introduction of the new general medical services contract offered UK general practices the option to discontinue providing out-of-hours (OOH) care. This aimed to improve GP recruitment and retention by offering a better work–life balance, but put primary care organisations under pressure to ensure sustainable delivery of these services. Many organisations arranged this by re-purchasing provision from individual GPs.
To analyse which factors influence an individual GP's decision to re-provide OOH care when their practice has opted out.
Design of study
Cross-sectional questionnaire survey.
Rural and urban general practices in Scotland, UK.
A postal survey was sent to all GPs working in Scotland in 2006, with analyses weighted for differential response rates. Analysis included logistic regression of individuals' decisions to re-provide OOH care based on personal characteristics, work and non-work time commitments, income from other sources, and contracting primary care organisation.
Of the 1707 GPs in Scotland whose practice had opted out, 40.6% participated in OOH provision. Participation rates of GPs within primary care organisations varied from 16.7% to 74.7%. Males with young children were substantially more likely to participate than males without children (odds ratio [OR] 2.44, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.36 to 4.40). GPs with higher-earning spouses were less likely to participate. This effect was reinforced if GPs had spouses who were also GPs (OR 0.52, 95% CI = 0.37 to 0.74). GPs with training responsibilities (OR 1.36, 95% CI = 1.09 to 1.71) and other medical posts (OR 1.38, 95% CI = 1.09 to 1.75) were more likely to re-provide OOH services.
The opportunity to opt out of OOH care has provided flexibility for GPs to raise additional income, although primary care organisations vary in the extent to which they offer these opportunities. Examining intrinsic motivation is an area for future study.
health care reform; out-of-hours medical care; primary care; workforce
The aim of this study is to develop, apply and evaluate an economics-based framework to assist commissioners in their management of finite resources for local dental services. In April 2006, Primary Care Trusts in England were charged with managing finite dental budgets for the first time, yet several independent reports have since criticised the variability in commissioning skills within these organisations. The study will explore the views of stakeholders (dentists, patients and commissioners) regarding priority setting and the criteria used for decision-making and resource allocation. Two inter-related case studies will explore the dental commissioning and resource allocation processes through the application of a pragmatic economics-based framework known as Programme Budgeting and Marginal Analysis.
The study will adopt an action research approach. Qualitative methods including semi-structured interviews, focus groups, field notes and document analysis will record the views of participants and their involvement in the research process. The first case study will be based within a Primary Care Trust where mixed methods will record the views of dentists, patients and dental commissioners on issues, priorities and processes associated with managing local dental services. A Programme Budgeting and Marginal Analysis framework will be applied to determine the potential value of economic principles to the decision-making process. A further case study will be conducted in a secondary care dental teaching hospital using the same approach. Qualitative data will be analysed using thematic analysis and managed using a framework approach.
The recent announcement by government regarding the proposed abolition of Primary Care Trusts may pose challenges for the research team regarding their engagement with the research study. However, whichever commissioning organisations are responsible for resource allocation for dental services in the future; resource scarcity is highly likely to remain an issue. Wider understanding of the complexities of priority setting and resource allocation at local levels are important considerations in the development of dental commissioning processes, national oral health policy and the future new dental contract which is expected to be implemented in April 2014.
A survey was carried out to ascertain the current provision of general paediatric surgery (GPS) in all hospitals in England, Wales and Northern Ireland with 100% return rate. The provision of GPS is at a crossroads with a drift of these cases to the overstretched, tertiary referral hospitals.
The regional representatives on the council of the Association of Surgeons of Great Britain and Ireland (ASGBI) obtained data from their regions. Any gaps in the data were completed by the author telephoning the remaining hospitals to ascertain their current provision.
A total of 325 acute hospitals are potentially available to admit elective and/or emergency paediatric patients, of which 25 hospitals provide a tertiary paediatric surgical service. Of the remaining ‘non-tertiary’ hospitals, 138 provide elective GPS and 147 provide emergency GPS. The ages at which GPS is carried out varies considerably, but 76% of non-tertiary hospitals provide elective GPS to those over the age of 2 years. The ages of emergency cases are 24% over the age of 2 years and 51.5% over the age of 5 years. The age at which surgery is carried out is dependent on the anaesthetic provision. Subspecialisation within each hospital has taken place with a limited number of surgeons providing the elective surgery. ‘Huband-spoke’ provision of GPS to a district general hospital (DGH) from a tertiary centre is embryonic with only 11 surgeons currently in post. An estimate of the annual elective case load of GPS based on the average number of cases done on an operation list works out at 23,000 cases done outwith the tertiary centres.
Almost 10 years ago, a change in the training of young surgeons took place. An increase in training posts in Tertiary centres was made available following advice from the British Association of Paediatric Surgeons (BAPS) but these posts were often not taken up. Many DGH surgeons became uncertain whether they should continue GPS training. A subtle change in the wording of the general guidance by the Royal College of Anaesthetists altered the emphasis on the age at which it was appropriate to anaesthetise children. Change in clinical practice, reducing need, and a drift towards tertiary centres has reduced DGH operations by 30% over a decade. Young surgeons are now seldom exposed to this surgery, and are not being trained in it. The large volume of these low-risk operations in well children cannot be absorbed into the current tertiary centres due to pressure on beds. The future provision of this surgery is at risk unless action is taken now. This survey was carried out to inform the debate, and to make recommendations for the future. The principal recommendations are that: (i) GPS should continue to be provided as at present in those DGHs equipped to do so; (ii) GPS training should be carried out in the DGHs where a high volume of cases is carried out; (iii) management of these cases should use a network approach in each region; (iv) hospital trusts should actively advertise for an interest in GPS as a second subspecialty; and (v) the SAC in general surgery develop a strategy to make GPS relevant to trainee surgeons.
Child; Surgical procedures; Elective; Hospitals; General
Emergency admissions to hospital at night and weekends are distressing for patients and disruptive for hospitals. Many of these admissions result from referrals from GP out-of-hours (OOH) providers.
To compare rates of referral to hospital for doctors working OOH before and after the new general medical services contract was introduced in Bristol in 2005; to explore the attitudes of GPs to referral to hospital OOH; and to develop an understanding of the factors that influence GPs when they refer patients to hospital.
Design of study
Cross-sectional comparison of admission rates; postal survey.
Three OOH providers in south-west England.
Referral rates were compared for 234 GPs working OOH, and questionnaires explored their attitudes to risk.
There was no change in referral rates after the change in contract or in the greater than fourfold variation between those with the lowest and highest referral rates found previously. Female GPs made fewer home visits and had a higher referral rate for patients seen at home. One-hundred and fifty GPs responded to the survey. Logistic regression of three combined survey risk items, sex, and place of visit showed that GPs with low ‘tolerance of risk’ scores were more likely to be high referrers to hospital (P<0.001).
GPs' threshold of risk is important for explaining variations in referral to hospital.
emergency service, hospital; out-of-hours medical care; risk
OBJECTIVE--To ascertain general practitioners' views about the future provision of out of hours primary medical care. DESIGN--Self completing postal questionnaire survey. SETTING--Wessex and north east England. SUBJECTS--116 general practitioners in the Wessex Primary Care Research Network and 83 in the Northern Primary Care Research Network. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES--Intention to reduce or opt out of on call; plans for changing out of hours arrangements; the three most important changes needed to out of hours care; willingness to try, and perceived strengths and limitations of, three alternative out of hours care models--primary care emergency centres, telephone triage services, and cooperatives. RESULTS--The overall response rate was 74% (Wessex research network 77% (89/116), northern research network 71% (59/83)). Eighty three per cent of respondents (123/148) were willing to try at least one service model, primary care emergency centres being the most popular option. Key considerations were the potential for a model to reduce time on call and workload, to maintain continuity of care, and to fit the practice context. Sixty one per cent (91/148) hoped to reduce time on call and 25% (37/148) hoped to opt out completely. CONCLUSIONS--General practitioners were keen to try alternative arrangements for out of hours care delivery, despite the lack of formal trials. The increased flexibility in funding brought about by the recent agreement between the General Medical Services Committee and the Department of Health is likely to lead to a proliferation of different schemes. Careful monitoring will be necessary, and formal trials of new service models are needed urgently.
The Faculty of Dental Surgery, The Royal College of Surgeons of England (RCSE), published a national guideline document in 1997 detailing specific selection criteria for National Health Service (NHS) funded dental implant treatment. The aim of this audit was to assess whether patients selected for NHS-funded dental implants at Bristol Dental Hospital (BDH) met the RCSE national criteria for treatment and received funding from their primary care trust (PCT).
PATIENTS AND METHODS
A retrospective audit over a period of 2 years was undertaken using medical records and an existing Microsoft Excel database. All patients who had an application submitted to their local PCT for NHS-funded dental implants by BDH were included in this audit.
A total of 82 applications for dental implant funding were made by BDH and 100% met the RCSE criteria. Fifty-one patients (62.2%) in total had their application for funding approved. Thirty-one patients (37.8%) that met the RCSE guidelines for NHS-funded dental implant treatment had their applications refused. Twenty-five (49%) out of 51 cases in the partially dentate category and six (27.3%) cases in the edentulous group were unsuccessful in their application for NHS-funded dental implants. However, all applications for patients with acquired maxillofacial defects were successful.
Patient selection by the BDH for NHS-funded implants complied with the RCSE guidelines. However, there was significant variation in funding between PCTs for those patients who apparently fulfilled the RCSE guidelines. NHS resources are not being allocated equitably for dental implant ‘high-priority’ patients and it would appear that a so-called ‘postcode lottery’ exists between PCTs.
Dental implants; Health resources; Guideline; Clinical audit
The principal conclusions of the fourth report of the Joint Cardiology Committee are: 1 Cardiovascular disease remains a major cause of death and morbidity in the population and of utilisation of medical services. 2 Reduction in the risk of cardiovascular disease is feasible, and better co-ordination is required of strategies most likely to be effective. 3 Pre-hospital care of cardiac emergencies, in particular the provision of facilities for defibrillation, should continue to be developed. 4 There remains a large shortfall in provision of cardiological services with almost one in five district hospitals in England and Wales having no physician with the appropriate training. Few of the larger districts have two cardiologists to meet the recommendation for populations of over 250,000. One hundred and fifty extra consultant posts (in both district and regional centres) together with adequate supporting staff and facilities are urgently needed to provide modest cover for existing requirements. 5 The provision of coronary bypass grafting has expanded since 1985, but few regions have fulfilled the unambitious objectives stated in the Third Joint Cardiology Report. 6 The development of coronary angioplasty has been slow and haphazard. All regional centres should have at least two cardiologists trained in coronary angioplasty and there should be a designated budget. Surgical cover is still required for most procedures and is best provided on site. 7 Advances in the management of arrhythmias, including the use of specialised pacemakers, implantable defibrillators, and percutaneous or surgical ablation of parts of the cardiac conducting system have resulted in great benefit to patients. Planned development of the emerging sub-specialty of arrhythmology is required. 8 Strategies must be developed to limit the increased exposure of cardiologists to ionising radiation which will result from the expansion and increasing complexity of interventional procedures. 9 Supra-regional funding for infant cardiac surgery and transplantation has been successful and should be continued. 10 Despite advances in non-invasive diagnosis of congenital heart disease the amount of cardiac catheterisation of children has risen due to the increase in number of interventional procedures. Vacant consultant posts in paediatric cardiology and the need for an increase in the number of such posts cannot be filled from existing senior registrar posts. All paediatric cardiac units should have a senior registrar and in the meantime it may be necessary to make proleptic appointments to consultant posts with arrangements for the appointees to complete their training. 11 Provision of care for the increasing number of adolescent and adult survivors of complex congenital heart disease is urgently required. The management of these patients is specialised, and the committee recommends that it should ultimately be undertaken by either adult or pediatric cardiologists with appropriate additional training working in supra-regionally funded centers alongside specially trained surgeons. 12 Cardiac rehabilitation should be available to all patients in the United Kingdom. 13 New recommendations for training in cardiology are for a total of at least five years in the specialty after general professional training, plus a year as senior registrar in general medicine. An additional year may be required for those wishing to work in interventional cardiology and adequate provision must be made for those with an academic interest. 14 It is essential that both basic and clinical research is carried out in cardiac centres but these activities are becoming increasingly limited by the lack of properly funded posts in the basic sciences and restriction in the number of honorary posts for clinical research workers. 15 A joint audit committee of the Royal College of Physicians and the British Cardiac Society has been established to coordinate audit in the specialty. All district and regional cardiac centres should cooperate with the work of the committee, in addition to their participation in local audit activities.
Changes in the contractual responsibilities of primary care practitioners and health boards have resulted in a plethora of arrangements relating to out-of-hours healthcare services. Rather than being guaranteed access to a GP (usually either their own or another through a local GP co-operative), patients have a number of alternative routes to services. Our objective was to identify and assess the availability and adequacy of relevant standards, responsibilities and information systems in Scotland to monitor the impact of contractual changes to out-of-hours healthcare services on equity of access.
All providers of primary care out-of-hours services in Scotland.
Main outcome measures
First, identification and policy review of current standards and performance monitoring systems, data and information, primarily through directly contacting national and local organizations responsible for monitoring out-of-hours care, supplemented by literature searches to highlight specific issues arising from the review; and second, mapping of data items by out-of-hours provider type to identify overlap and significant gaps.
In Scotland, data monitoring systems have not kept pace with changes in the organization of out-of-hours care, so the impact on access to services for different population groups is unknown. There are significant gaps in information collected with respect to workforce, distribution of services, service utilisation and clinical outcomes.
Since 2004 there have been major changes to the way patients access out-of-hours healthcare in the UK. In Scotland, none of the current systems provide information on whether the new services satisfy the key NHS principle of equity of access. There is an urgent need for a comprehensive review of data standards and systems relating to out-of-hours care in order to monitor and evaluate inputs, processes and outcomes of care not least in respect of access and fairness of distribution of resources.
BACKGROUND: The need for closer coordination between primary care medical and dental services has been recognized. AIM: To assess the attitudes of general medical practitioners (GMPs), general dental practitioners (GDPs), and patients to an integrated medical-dental patient-held record (integrated medical-dental PHR); to examine patients' use of these records, and the utility of the records for doctors and dentists. METHOD: A three-phase study was carried out: (1) postal survey of GMPs and GDPs; (2) randomized trial of patients, using postal questionnaires before and one year after the issue of integrated medical-dental PHRs to cases; (3) assessment by doctors and dentists of anonymized integrated medical-dental PHRs from this trial. The study was carried out in medical and dental practices in affluent and deprived areas in Greater Glasgow Health Board. Two hundred and thirteen GMPs, 183 GDPs, and 369 patients registered with GMPs and GDPs were surveyed. Eighteen GDPs and GMPs assessed the integrated medical-dental PHRs. RESULTS: Eighty per cent of dentists had contacted a doctor and 16% of doctors had contacted a dentist in the previous three months; 87% of dentists and 68% of doctors thought an integrated medical-dental PHR would be of some use. Twenty-one per cent of dentists and 85% of doctors had practice computers. Most patients wanted to be able to see and read their own records. Twenty-four per cent of patients said there were mistakes and 30% noticed omissions in the integrated medical-dental PHR issued. Experience of having an integrated medical-dental PHR made patients more positive towards the idea of having a patient-held record and being able to check the accuracy of records. Integrated medical-dental PHRs contained important information for half the GDPs and one-third of the GMPs. CONCLUSION: Both professionals and patients have reasonably positive attitudes towards the use of patient-held records. Among patients, the experience of having the integrated medical-dental PHR led to greater enthusiasm towards the idea. Dentists in particular would benefit from the transfer of information from doctors, but better methods are needed to ensure that patients take the integrated medical-dental PHR with them. Given the current lack of ability to easily produce an integrated medical-dental PHR, further examination of the routine issue of a copy of their medical summary, by GMPs, to all patients would be worthwhile.
Over the past two decades, the service delivery landscape across health and social care in England has been reshaped in order to separate the commissioning of services from their delivery.
The market ethic that underpinned this move has depicted the previously roles as unresponsive to the needs of service users and dominated by provider interests. As well as seeming to offer commissioners the chance to change the nature of provision and type of provider, this policy model also created a further new opportunity—for joint commissioning across organisational boundaries. The logic here is that if two or more commissioners can jointly shape their programmes then they will be better able to secure integrated provision across a range of separate agencies and professions.
This article reviews the experience of joint commissioning across health and social care over the past decade in England. It contrasts the proliferation of policies against the paucity of achievements, seeks explanations for this situation, and offers pointers for future development.
joint commissioning; health and social care; policy developments; top-down implementation; front-line professionals; network development
Since 2000, out‐of‐hours primary medical care services in the UK have undergone major changes in the organisation and delivery of services in response to recommendations by the Carson Review and more recently, through the new General Medical Services Contract (GMS2). People calling their general practice in the evening or at weekends are redirected to the out‐of‐hours service which may offer telephone advice, a home visit or a visit to a treatment centre. Little is known about users' experiences under the new arrangements.
To explore users' experiences of out‐of‐hours primary medical care.
Design of study
A qualitative study employing focus groups and telephone interviews.
Three out‐of‐hours primary medical care service providers in England.
Focus groups and telephone interviews were conducted with 27 recent users of out‐of‐hours services.
Key areas of concern included the urgency with which cases are handled, and delays when waiting for a call back or home visit. Users felt that providers were reluctant to do home visits. The service was regarded as under‐resourced and frequently misused. Many expressed anxiety about calling, feeling unsure about how appropriate their call was and many were uncertain about how the service operated.
Service users need clear information on how current out‐of‐hours services operate and how it should be used. Problems with triaging need to be addressed, users should be kept informed of any delays, and care needs to be taken to ensure that the new arrangements do not alienate older people or individuals with complex health needs.
Background and objective
Provision of out‐of‐hours care in the UK National Health Service (NHS) has changed in recent years with new models of provision and the introduction of national quality requirements. Existing survey instruments tend to focus on users' satisfaction with service provision; most were developed without undertaking supporting qualitative fieldwork. In this study, a survey instrument was developed taking account of these changes in service provision and undertaking supporting qualitative fieldwork. This paper reports on the development and psychometric properties of the new survey instrument, the Out‐of‐hours Patient Questionnaire (OPQ), which aims to capture information on the entirety of users' experiences of out‐of‐hours care, from the decision to make contact through to completion of their care management.
An iterative approach was undertaken to develop the new instrument which was then tested in users of out‐of‐hours services in three geographically distributed UK settings. For the purposes of this study, “service users” were defined as “individuals about whom contact was made with an out‐of‐hours primary care medical service”, whether that contact was made by the user themselves, or via a third party. Analysis was undertaken of the acceptability, reliability and validity of the survey instrument.
The OPQ tested is a 56‐item questionnaire, which was distributed to 1250 service users. Respondents were similar in respect of gender, but were older and more affluent (using a proxy measure) than non‐respondents. Item completion rates were acceptable. Respondents sometimes completed sections of the questionnaire which did not equate to their principal mode of management as recorded in the record of the contact. Preliminary evidence suggests the OPQ is a valid and reliable instrument which contains within it two discrete scales—a consultation satisfaction scale (nine items) and an “entry‐access” scale (four items). Further work is required to determine the generalisability of findings obtained following use of the OPQ, especially to non‐white user populations.
The OPQ is an acceptable instrument for capturing information on users' experiences of out‐of‐hours care. Preliminary evidence suggests it is both valid and reliable in use. Further work will report on its utility in informing out‐of‐hours service planning and configuration and standard‐setting in relation to UK national quality requirements.
Denturism, an organized movement by dental laboratory technicians to increase their control over the provision of denture services to the public, has generated a great deal of controversy among members of organized dentistry, the National Denturist Association, the Federal Trade Commission, consumer groups, and prepaid dental plans.
Denturism is currently legal in Arizona, Colorado, Maine, and Oregon. In the first three States, the denturist must practice under the supervision of a dentist, but in Oregon the denturist is able to enter independent practice.
The American Dental Association has held that a denturist is educationally unqualified to provide denture services directly to the consumer, Representatives of organized dentistry have characterized denturists as untrained and unskilled persons who would endanger the public's health and return one phase of dentistry to the apprentice system. They see denturism as constituting a major step backward in health care delivery and having an adverse effect on preventive dental care.
The National Denturist Association, however, defines a denturist as a highly skilled person who specializes in the making of full and partial dentures. Denturists maintain that the dentist is an unnecessary middleman in the provision of denture services and is the primary cause of the high cost of dental prostheses. They contend that State dental laws providing that only dentists may render denture services have led to the high cost of these services without contributing significantly to the health and safety of the public.
Organized dentistry in the United States has been fighting denturism in a number of ways. One that has met with considerable success has been the establishment of programs to provide people access to dental care, especially denture services, at lower costs. A second alternative under consideration is to license denturists but require them to practice under the supervision of a dentist. A third alternative under discussion is to expand the duties of existing dental auxiliary personnel.
The final decision on denturism, however, will not be made by the dental profession or the denturists, but by the voting public and their elected representatives, based on the evidence they have before them.
Public-private partnerships (PPPs) are potential instruments to enable private collaboration in the health sector. Despite theoretical debate, empirical analyses have thus far tended to focus on the contractual or project dimension, overlooking institutional PPPs, i.e., formal legal entities run by proper corporate-governance mechanisms and jointly owned by public and private parties for the provision of public-health goods. This work aims to fill this gap by carrying out a comparative analysis of the reasons for the adoption of institutional PPPs and the governance and managerial features necessary to establish them as appropriate arrangements for public-health services provisions.
A qualitative analysis is carried out on experiences of institutional PPPs within the Italian National Health Service (Sistema Sanitario Nazionale, SSN). The research question is addressed through a contextual and comparative embedded case study design, assuming the entire population of PPPs (4) currently in force in one Italian region as the unit of analysis: (i) a rehabilitation hospital, (ii), an orthopaedic-centre, (iii) a primary care and ambulatory services facility, and (iv) a health- and social-care facility. Internal validity is guaranteed by the triangulation of sources in the data collection phase, which included archival and interview data.
Four governance and managerial issues were found to be critical in determining the positive performance of the case examined: (i) a strategic market orientation to a specialised service area with sufficient potential demand, (ii) the allocation of public capital assets and the consistent financial involvement of the private partner, (iii) the adoption of private administrative procedures in a regulated setting while guaranteeing the respect of public administration principles, and (iv) clear regulation of the workforce to align the contracts with the organisational culture.
Findings suggests that institutional PPPs enable national health services to reap great benefits when introduced as a complement to the traditional public-service provisions for a defined set of services and goals.
Changing immigration trends pose new challenges for the UK's open access health service and there is considerable speculation that migrants from resource-poor countries place a disproportionate burden on services. Data are needed to inform provision of services to migrant groups and to ensure their access to appropriate health care. We compared sociodemographic characteristics and impact of migrant groups and UK-born patients presenting to a hospital A&E/Walk-In Centre and prior use of community-based General Practitioner (GP) services.
We administered an anonymous questionnaire survey of all presenting patients at an A&E/Walk-In Centre at an inner-city London hospital during a 1 month period. Questions related to nationality, immigration status, time in the UK, registration and use of GP services. We compared differences between groups using two-way tables by Chi-Square and Fisher's exact test. We used logistic regression modelling to quantify associations of explanatory variables and outcomes.
1611 of 3262 patients completed the survey (response rate 49.4%). 720 (44.7%) were overseas born, representing 87 nationalities, of whom 532 (73.9%) were new migrants to the UK (≤10 years). Overseas born were over-represented in comparison to local estimates (44.7% vs 33.6%; p < 0.001; proportional difference 0.111 [95% CI 0.087–0.136]). Dominant immigration status' were: work permit (24.4%), EU citizens (21.5%), with only 21 (1.3%) political asylum seekers/refugees. 178 (11%) reported nationalities from refugee-generating countries (RGCs), eg, Somalia, who were less likely to speak English. Compared with RGCs, and after adjusting for age and sex, the Australians, New Zealanders, and South Africans (ANS group; OR 0.28 [95% CI 0.11 to 0.71]; p = 0.008) and the Other Migrant (OM) group comprising mainly Europeans (0.13 [0.06 to 0.30]; p = 0.000) were less likely to have GP registration and to have made prior contact with GPs, yet this did not affect mode of access to hospital services across groups nor delay access to care.
Recently arrived migrants are a diverse and substantial group, of whom migrants from refugee-generating countries and asylum seekers comprise only a minority group. Service reorganisation to ensure improved access to community-based GPs and delivery of more appropriate care may lessen their impact on acute services.
The provision of the sexually transmitted disease clinic service in the regional health authorities of England and Wales has been compared by relating the opening hours of clinics to the size of the population served. Relatively low levels of service were provided in the West Midlands and South-west Thames regions and high levels in the North-east and North-west Thames regions. When the service in the Greater London area health authorities was examined in relation to both resident and day-time populations, provision was relatively high in both instances, particularly in certain central London areas. Valid conclusions, however, about the equality of the service in different areas can only be drawn if the needs of the population for that service are known.
Recommendations exist for the optimal management of vascular surgical emergency patients. A telephone survey of on-call surgical registrars was performed to assess the current state of emergency vascular service provision across the Wessex and South West regions in the UK. Of the 24 hospitals surveyed, 10 had formal on-call arrangements for vascular surgical cover, 14 had informal arrangements where the general surgical consultant on-call provided cover and could contact a vascular surgeon if they were available and 3 hospitals had no such arrangements. No difficulties had been experienced by the on-call staff surveyed with any of the existing arrangements. Only 5 of the hospitals had formal on-call arrangements for interventional radiologists. We conclude that current emergency vascular service provision is suboptimal compared to national guidelines and patients may be subject to unequitable access to services. This may not be tenable in the new era of clinical governance.
St Bartholomew's Hospital, in the City of London, has for many years run a Coronary Ambulance service, called by the public via the 999 system. During a 9-month period only 55% of 214 cardiac emergencies arriving at St Bartholomew's Hospital came with Coronary Ambulance support, although the service was available if called. In cases where the Coronary Ambulance was summoned, the call-out was inappropriate in 57% of cases. In addition, 153 cardiac emergencies arrived at the Accident and Emergency Department during hours when the Coronary Ambulance was not available. Reasons for breakdowns in the call-out system are discussed and remedies involving the public and London Ambulance Control are suggested.
This article reviews the impact of successive experiments in the development of primary care organisations in England and assesses the long-term importance of English primary care groups for the integration of health and community and health and social care and the deinstitutionalisation of hospital care.
Governments in a number of Western countries are attempting to improve the efficiency, appropriateness and equity of their health systems. One of the main ways of doing this is to devolve provision and commissioning responsibility from national and regional organisations to more local agencies based in primary care. Such primary care organisations are allocated budgets that span both primary and secondary (hospital) services and also, potentially, social care.
This article is based on a systematic review of the literature forthcoming from the UK Government's Department of Health-funded evaluations of successive primary care organisational developments. These include total purchasing pilots, GP commissioning group pilots, personal medical services pilots and primary care groups and trusts.
Primary care organisations in England have proved to be a catalyst in facilitating the development of integrated care working between primary and community health services. Conversely, primary care organisations have proved less effective in promoting integration between health and social care agencies where most progress has been made at the strategic commissioning level. The development of primary care trusts in England is heralding an end to traditional community hospitals.
The development of primary care groups in England are but an intermediate step of a policy progression towards future primary care-based organisations that will functionally integrate primary and community health services with local authority services under a single management umbrella.
primary care; integrated care; managed care; England
Recently the financial status of primary care trusts has come under considerable scrutiny by the government, and financial deficits have been blamed on poor local management of resources. This paper examines the factors that differ between those Primary Care Trusts (PCT) in financial deficit and those in surplus, using readily available data at PCT level. PCTs are the National Health Service organisations in England responsible for improving the health of their population, developing primary and community health services, and commissioning secondary care services.
A descriptive comparative study using data from 58 PCTs; 29 in greatest financial surplus and 29 in greatest deficit in the English National Health Service.
Nearly half the study deficit PCTs (14 out of 29) are in the East of England and of the 29 surplus PCTs, five each are in Birmingham and Black Country Strategic Health Authority (SHA), and Greater Manchester SHA. The median population density of the deficit PCTs is almost seven times lower than that of surplus PCTs (p = 0.004). Surplus PCTs predominantly serve deprived communities. Nearly half the surplus PCTs are 'spearhead' PCTs compared to only one of the deficit PCTs. Percentage population increase by local authority of the PCT showed that on average deficit PCTs had 2.7 times higher change during 1982–2002 (13.37% for deficit and 4.94% for surplus PCTs). Work pressure felt by staff is significantly higher in deficit PCTs, and they also reported working higher amount of extra hours due to work pressures. The proportion of dispensing general practitioners is significantly higher in deficit PCTs 40.5% vs. 12.9% (p = 0.002). Deficit PCTs on average received £123 less per head of registered population compared to surplus PCTs.
The two groups of PCTs serve two distinct populations with marked differences between the two. Deficit PCTs tend to be in relatively affluent and rural areas. Poor management alone is unlikely to be the cause of deficits, and potential reasons for deficits including rurality and increased demand for health services in more affluent communities need further in-depth studies.
Objective To determine whether asthma specialist nurses, using a liaison model of care, reduce unscheduled care in a deprived multiethnic area.
Design Cluster randomised controlled trial.
Setting 44 general practices in two boroughs in east London.
Participants 324 people aged 4-60 years admitted to or attending hospital or the general practitioner out of hours service with acute asthma; 164 (50%) were South Asian patients, 108 (34%) were white patients, and 52 (16%) were from other, largely African and Afro-Caribbean, ethnicities.
Intervention Patient review in a nurse led clinic and liaison with general practitioners and practice nurses comprising educational outreach, promotion of guidelines for high risk asthma, and ongoing clinical support. Control practices received a visit promoting standard asthma guidelines; control patients were checked for inhaler technique.
Main outcome measures Percentage of participants receiving unscheduled care for acute asthma over one year and time to first unscheduled attendance.
Results Primary outcome data were available for 319 of 324 (98%) participants. Intervention delayed time to first attendance with acute asthma (hazard ratio 0.73, 95% confidence interval 0.54 to 1.00; median 194 days for intervention and 126 days for control) and reduced the percentage of participants attending with acute asthma (58% (101/174) v 68% (99/145); odds ratio 0.62, 0.38 to 1.01). In analyses of prespecified subgroups the difference in effect on ethnic groups was not significant, but results were consistent with greater benefit for white patients than for South Asian patients or those from other ethnic groups.
Conclusion Asthma specialist nurses using a liaison model of care reduced unscheduled care for asthma in a deprived multiethnic health district. Ethnic groups may not benefit equally from specialist nurse intervention.
Primary medical care can be provided either by a bureaucratic hierarchical organization or alternatively by independent contractors. Most members of the caring professions in medicine, nursing, and social work are employed in bureaucracies, whereas general medical practitioners, general dental practitioners, opticians, and pharmacists are independent contractors.
The independent contractor status has recently been heavily attacked from within the medical and nursing professions, and also from outside. It has been suggested that contracting for services is an inappropriate and anomalous way of arranging medical care, which should now be stopped. However, this process of contracting for services can be analysed, using perspectives from some of the behavioural sciences, to reveal hidden depths in the independent contractor status which suggest that the provision of primary medical care is best carried out by independent contractors.
To find out the reasons for use and non-use of dental services among people visiting a dental college hospital in India.
A descriptive cross-sectional study was carried out on 180 people, aged 15–65 years visiting the outpatient department of a dental college hospital in India. A self-administered questionnaire was used to collect data about the history of dental visits and reasons for use and non-use of dental services.
For a majority of the people (38.5%), time since the last dental visit was more than 2 years, and the main reason for visiting a dentist was dental pain (35.3%). Majority of the people had undergone extraction of teeth in their previous dental visit (44.3%). The major reason cited for not visiting a dentist was the presence of dental problem that was not severe enough to go to a dentist (43.1%).
Majority of the people were “problem-oriented visitors” rather than “prevention oriented visitors.”
Dental services; utilization; barriers; dental college hospital; India
OBJECTIVE--To examine whether there are too many hospital beds in London. DESIGN--Analysis of data from the Hospital In-Patient Enquiry, Mental Health Enquiry, health service indicators, and Emergency Bed Service. SETTING--England, London, and inner London. RESULTS--Hospital admission rates for acute plus geriatric services for London residents were very similar to the national values in all age groups. In the special case considered in the Tomlinson report--acute services in inner London--the admission rate was 22% above the value for England. However, the admission rate of inner deprived Londoners was 9% below that of comparable areas outside London. For psychiatry, admission rates in London roughly equalled those in comparable areas. When special health authorities were excluded, in 1990-1 there were 4% more acute plus geriatric beds available per resident in London than in England. Bed provision has been reduced more rapidly in London than nationally. Extrapolating the trend of bed closures forward indicates that beds (all and acute) per resident in London are now at about the national average. Data from the Emergency Bed Service indicate that the pressure on available hospital beds in London has been increasing since 1985. CONCLUSIONS--Data regarding bed provision and utilisation for all specialties by London residents do not provide a case for reducing the total hospital bed stock in London at a rate faster than elsewhere. Bed closures should take account of London's relatively poorer social and primary health care circumstances, longer hospital waiting lists, poorer provision of residential homes, and evidence from the Emergency Bed Service of increasing pressure on beds. Higher average costs in London, some unavoidable, are forcing hospital beds to be closed at a faster rate in London than nationally.