Headlines: April 12th, 2000

The British Medical Association has welcomed the Prime Minister’s ten point plan for freeing family doctors of much of their paperwork and returning to them their primary role – caring for patients.Dr John Chisholm, chairman of the BMA’s General Practitioners Committee described Tony Blair’s plan to free up surgery time as “a constructive approach to addressing GPs’ inexorably growing workload.”

Following similar announcements this week for head teachers (Publicnet, Monday, April 10) Tony Blair has offered doctors the chance to transfer more of the repeat prescription workload to pharmacists, increase the role of nurses and receptionists in giving more basic health advice, and introduce electronic links to chase up test results and arrange hospital appointments for patients.

It is also proposed that the new primary care trusts could carry out some routine staff matters collectively for groups of GP practices, and that time spent researching the latest evidence of the effectiveness of different treatments and drugs could be cut by using guidance issued by the National Institute of Clinical Excellence and the National Library for Health – which will be up and running in the next year.