Headlines: March 5th, 1999

With plans for ‘beacon councils’ at an early stage of development, the idea of star performers sharing the recipe for their success with others has been taken up by Health Minister John Denham. The scheme is being introduced because it is claimed that mechanisms are weak in the NHS for spreading best practice and enabling professionals to learn from each other. The aim of the ‘beacon’ scheme is to create learning zones and to reward high standards.

Beacon status will be awarded under three schemes covering general practice, waiting lists and times and mental health. The motivation for becoming a ‘beacon’ will be up to 50,000 pounds for each NHS Trust and 4,000 pounds for each primary care service.

Applications are invited from NHS Services wanting to become a ‘beacon’. Over 200 ‘beacon’ services are likely to be selected, with at least 20-25 coming from each Region.