Headlines: June 27th, 2001

The organisation that speaks up for the trusts, health authorities and primary care trusts which run the NHS on the ground have welcomed the idea of offering franchises for the delivery of some NHS services.But it says there’s much work to be done to clarify how exactly it would work.

Stephen Thornton, Chief Executive of the NHS Confederation, was responding to recent media reports which indicate that the Government is considering the sort of system which allows different operators to take on certain specific services.

While he said that individual hospitals were unique – and could not be offered out to the private sector to run in the same way as a franchise to operate a McDonalds restaurant – he also declared that the idea was potentially a good one.

The NHS Confederation believes however, that it is not the answer to sorting out individual trusts and authorities that are performing badly. It remains its view that a mentoring by better-performing and better able managers and clinicians is the best way to improve standards.

The organisation is clearly keen to be seen to be embracing some of the ideas coming out of the new administration, at a time of rapid change in the management structure of the NHS – with many member health authorities being merged or stripped out of the system. (see Publicnet Briefing, Thursday April 26, 2001)