The NHS is to give more power to the regional bodies trying to ensure fairer delivery of specialist services not available in every town and city.Regional Specialised Commissioning Groups (RSCGs) were set up in April 1999 to plan such services across health authority boundaries, ending ad hoc decisions and different standards of care in different parts of the country.
These groups have been hampered in their work because until now health authorities have not been forced to abide by their decisions.
Health Services Director Dr Sheila Adam has announced that from now on these regional groups will have more bite.
To ensure that what is provided regionally matches what is required at patient level, the newly formed Primary Care Groups and Primary Care Trusts will also have an input into their work.
It is planned that by April 2001 the majority of specialised services will be covered by a new planned, consensual system.