New shape to health services

RESTRUCTURING of health authorities in Suffolk can begin to go ahead today after the Department of Health set out their preferred options.The government wants to slash the numbers of health organisations and change the way they deliver services.

RESTRUCTURING of health authorities in Suffolk can begin to go ahead today after the Department of Health set out their preferred options.

The government wants to slash the numbers of health organisations and change the way they deliver services.

Primary Care Trusts and Strategic Health Authority boundaries will become much larger organisations, with more centralised management.

After consulting with PCTs and the SHA, the Department of Health has drawn up a list of options it would like to see implemented in Suffolk, and health trusts will now consult with the public and other interested parties.

The Department of Health wants one SHA for Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire - in line with the Eastern government boundaries.

They have given two options for PCTs - either one PCT for the whole of Suffolk, or one for all of Suffolk except Waveney and then a separate Great Yarmouth and Waveney PCT.

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The second option has been put forward, as Waveney PCT tends to work more closely with services in Norfolk anyway.

Dr Brian Keeble, acting chief executive of the Suffolk East PCTs, said: “There are no great surprises in this announcement but I am pleased that the Department of Health has given us the option of a separate PCT for the north of Suffolk.

“We have got three quite different health systems in Suffolk - the east, the west and the north - and although we do all work together on some issues a lot of what we do is quite separate.”

The changes are part of a government document released in the summer called Commissioning A Patient-Led NHS which aims to streamline the NHS.

They have been criticised for some as being a return to the old Suffolk Health Authority.

As part of the changes trusts are being expected to slash management costs by 15pc.

Consultations on the proposals will begin on December 14 and last until March 22 2006.

Public consultation events will take place within this period and will be advertised locally and on the SHA website.

Feedback will be sent to the Secretary of State in April 2006.

Weblink: www.nscsha.nhs.uk

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