Headlines: November 22nd, 2002

The three year primary care plan, Liberating the Talents, launched by Health Minister John Hutton, sets out a vision of a totally reformed service. Delivery of the plan will require managers at all levels to set about changing the culture and to re-think the way things are done now. The essence of the plan is about removing frontiers between health and social services and particularly between professional groups within primary health care.The plan describes the one service approach to ensure that organizational and professional boundaries do not get in the way of delivering a patient centred service. It envisages professionals being brought together in multi agency teams to provide integrated services. It calls for a questioning of professional and organizational boundaries. It also urges that frontline health staff should be involved in Local Strategic Partnerships.

Health Boards are directed to empower nurses, midwives and therapists to take on a wider range of responsibilities. Nurses will be given tasks formerly carried out by GPs. More nurses will develop advanced and specialist skills. Support staff and health care assistants will become a more important part of the workforce. All staff will have greater freedom to innovate and take decisions.

The Plan recognizes that success will depend on having managers in place who can work creatively with staff in their new roles. Persuading managers to ‘let go’ is seen as a particular barrier to flexible working.

A new pay deal is expected to be announced shortly. It will support flexible working, help to break down professional barriers and boost incomes by rewarding staff gaining extra skills and taking on additional responsibilities.

Link: http://www.doh.gov.uk/cno/liberatingtalents.htm