Headlines: April 5th, 2000

The Health Secretary has promised that more than a hundred leading doctors, nurses and managers are to help draw up a national plan for the NHS.It follows the announcement of extra money for the service in the Budget, and the setting of five challenges to be achieved as a result.

Over the next three months, teams of front line staff will be asked to be part of the consultation to form a National Plan for delivery.

A the same time Ministers will take part in a national tour which will see them meeting staff from every Primary Care Group, NHS Trust and Health Authority in the country.

The new resources will allow the NHS to grow by one third in just five years – and the challenge for the National Plan is for it to deliver a step change in results to match the step change in resources.

A reminder of the challenges: partnership – making all parts of the health and social care system work better together, improving performance – both clinical and productivity, flexibility of working practices, fast, convenient and involving care for patients, and improved illness prevention.

Those already announced as forming the backbone of the consultation teams include representatives from Unison, BMA, NHS Confederation and Royal colleges representing surgeons, midwives, GPs and nurses, and the Association of Directors of Social Services as well as individual trusts and authorities.