Headlines: June 7th, 2004

Shortages of resources and staff are stopping doctors from developing innovative approaches to patient care according to a new publication from the British Association. It says in many ways doctors are leading new developments but find themselves blocked from going further.”A to Z of Doctors Making a Difference” highlights a selection of 44 case studies, which, it says, show how doctors across the UK are pushing ahead with new projects to improve services for their patients. They cover new medical treatments, better access and choice for patients and new approaches to reduce waiting. The authors of the report, which has a foreword by the Prime Minister, say it provides a snapshot of some of the pioneering work that doctors and their teams are carrying out in hospitals, health centres and GP surgeries.

They say it is clear from the report that with extra resources, thousands more patients could benefit from such innovative schemes. In a series of interviews with doctors the report reveals that nine out of ten want to extend their initiatives in the future but four out of five face barriers that prevent them from doing so. Fifty-seven per cent of the doctors questioned face funding difficulties and one in three report a lack of staff stopping them.

The BMA is urging the government to talk to doctors not accountants and says it has good examples of what works. Doctors are eager to explore new ways of delivering high quality care for patients and they must be involved in deciding on how any new money for the NHS should be spent.