Headlines: February 16th, 2001

The Prime Minister has outlined the Government’s plans for a new type of hospital for the NHS. Speaking at the Central Middlesex hospital in London he revealed plans for a hospital that will focus exclusively on diagnostic tests and operations, and will work longer hours including weekends, giving patients the chance to be back in their homes to recover.The hospital will focuses exclusively on a wide range of conditions such as cataract, hernias and cancer. Because it will operate separately from the Accident and Emergency Department, it means that extra pressures do not result in cancelled operations. Other features include: one-stop tests and diagnosis; same day results and procedures carried out as day cases rather then requiring overnight stays. Patient will be assessed before operations to reduce the risk of cancellations.

In order to provide this service, elective surgery will be protected from emergency care. There will also be alterations in the times and arrangements for clinics and theatre sessions. Staff will be used more flexibly. There will also be a partnership with the private sector on using state of the art scanning equipment. Nurses and radiographers will be trained for new roles and new digital X ray and IT systems will be installed.

The Prime Minister also outlined a new standard of care for all hospitals in the future. There will be no mixed sex wards. Every patient will have a bedside TV and telephone. Maintenance schedules will guarantee hospitals stay clean and well decorated throughout their life. There will be lounges for relatives and patients waiting for appointments. Nurseries will be available where staff can leave their young children safely. Electronic records and digital X ray facilities will be installed to avoid patient records getting lost.