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Wednesday, March 31, 1999 Published at 12:55 GMT 13:55 UK


Government provides care blueprints

The first framework will deal with coronary heart disease

National Service Frameworks will set out what patients can expect to receive from the NHS in major care areas or disease groups.

As "care blueprints", they will define how services are best provided, and to what standards.

They aim to inform patients about both what they can expect to receive and what it would be unrealistic to expect.

The government announced work on two National Service Frameworks (NSFs) on coronary heart disease and mental health last June, and another on care for the elderly last November.

The new NHS
The frameworks will spell out how services can best be organised to cater for patients with particular conditions and the standards that services will have to meet.

In all parts of the country the NHS will be required to organise its services to ensure the best quality and the fairest access.

The first framework will provide standards for coronary heart disease. This will be the blueprint for all services offered to people with coronary heart disease up and down the country.

The government says it will help ensure that the most effective treatments are available as a matter of course to everyone.

These standards will be monitored by the Commission for Health Improvement which is due to established in 1999-2000.

Health managers are generally keen to see the frameworks in position.

Peter Catchpole, chief executive of West Sussex Health Authority, said this aspect of NICE's work would be particularly useful.

He said: "We welcome the opportunity to work within nationally agreed guidelines and implement evidence-based health care.

"It is anticipated that NICE will provide guidance similar to the standards outlined in the Calman-Hine report for cancer services, and those anticipated in the National Service Frameworks for coronary heart diseases and mental health."

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