Planning a Healthy Future for the City; Medical Correspondent Jon Hunt Reports on the Plans for Birmingham's He Alth Care

The Birmingham Post (England), June 17, 1998 | Go to article overview

Planning a Healthy Future for the City; Medical Correspondent Jon Hunt Reports on the Plans for Birmingham's He Alth Care


The Independent Advisory Panel's report pulls no punches in its criticism of the warring parties that have held health planning in Birmingham back.

"Narrow, vested interests cannot continue to hold sway if Birmingham is to move forward - nor will continuing disagreement be acceptable to the Birmingham population," the panel's report says.

Many people were motivated by loyalty and fierce commitment to particular institutions, the report said.

It added: "At the end of the day, the overriding loyalty of everyone concerned with the NHS in Birmingham must be to the people of Birmingham and to the health service of Birmingham as a whole."

It says that at first voluntary co-operation should be sought. But if this failed Birmingham Health Authority should have a clear role in ensuring that vested interests do not jeopardise agreed changes.

Declaring general practice to be the "absolute top priority" the report says a task force should be set up in Birmingham to draw up a costed programme for development of new premises by the end of March next year.

The task force should include GPs, community trusts, Birmingham Medical School and Birmingham City Council. It would also draws up a management development programme for GPs and other professionals to enable them to run the new system.

And it would look for ways of tackling the GP shortage, including employment of doctors and more use of nurses.

The report says that primary care development should have the first call on resources.

It supports the building of a new hospital, replacing Selly Oak Hospital and the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in the south of the city.

But, it says, the proposals should be re-examined to see if the estimated pounds 200million cost can be reduced. It says that an independent assessment of the proposal should be undertaken as a matter of urgency.

The new hospital should be seen first of all as a new general hospital for south Birmingham, not a university hospital, it says - although it would be a natural first choice for specialist services.

Panellists yesterday stressed this meant the hospital should be readily accessible to the public. …

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