The New Primary Care: Modern, Dependable, Successful?

The New Primary Care: Modern, Dependable, Successful?

The New Primary Care: Modern, Dependable, Successful?

The New Primary Care: Modern, Dependable, Successful?

Synopsis

The 'modernization' of the NHS is at the heart of the UK government's policies for public sector services. This modernization programme represents the most radical and ambitious restructuring of the NHS since its inception in 1948. The new Primary Care Groups and Trusts (PCG/Ts) are the main organizational mechanism for delivering the modernization agenda and are therefore key to the success or otherwise of these reforms. To date there has been no comprehensive evaluation of how PCG/Ts have been performing in implementing the modernization programme; this book fills that important gap in knowledge. It provides a strong text of first evidence about the performance of PCG/Ts to date; this forms the basis for discussions about future success and a benchmark for future research.

The New Primary Care will be an essential resource for all advanced students of health care as well as academics, researchers and policy makers.

Excerpt

Since coming to power in 1997, the Labour government has placed the National Health Service (NHS) at the heart of a concerted drive to 'modernize' public sector services. 'Modernization' is a loose term that is capable of multiple meanings and interpretations and that also has significant normative overtones–who would eschew modernization in favour of 'old-fashioned' or 'outdated' public services? Modernization is perhaps most commonly used to refer to the process of updating services to match the expectations of contemporary publics or consumers. This may include attempts to tackle complex and long-standing social problems, such as the causes of avoidable morbidity and mortality and the wide variations in the use and experiences of health services by different sectors of the population. Modernization is also an implicit response to the challenges posed by economic globalization, in that it acknowledges the importance of maximizing efficiency in the use of public resources to sustain economic competitiveness. It therefore has the potential to open up to change those parts of the public sector that remained untouched, or failed to be transformed, by the market ethos of previous Conservative governments. This can involve challenging some cherished traditions and vested interests, such as those of professional groups who may attempt to protect their remaining autonomous domains from rationalizing managerial influences (Newman 2000, 2001).

However, unlike the politics of its immediate predecessors, who regarded taxation and public expenditure as more or less negative influences on economic competitiveness and who therefore sought to prioritize efficiency and value for money over most other concerns, the Labour government's 'modernization' agenda also embraces a concern for social, moral and civic values. It therefore includes a strong appeal to principles of consensus and social . . .

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