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Wednesday, 29 March, 2000, 11:49 GMT 12:49 UK
Nurses 'see no improvement' in NHS
Nurses say there is little evidence of change
Reforms of the NHS introduced by the government have had no impact on local services, say nurses.

More than seven out of ten nurses surveyed said they knew of no benefits to patients following changes introduced last April.

Things really are changing in a big way

Dr Mike Dixon, NHS Alliance
A Nursing Times poll asked them if they thought the introduction of primary care groups (PCGs) - groupings of GPs and other healthcare professionals in local areas - had made any difference.

Of the 600 nurses questioned, 77% said they knew of no beneficial changes since the introduction of PCGs.

And only 49% of nurses in England tought the new bodies would make a difference to people's health in the future.

Even nurses who were on PCG boards thought there would be little benefit to patients - just 28% thought the bodies would improve care inthe future.

GPs have complained that the groups have been introduced without sufficent training or the required technology.

They also complained of being burdened by extra paperwork, which was mirrored by the Nursing Times poll where 92% of the nurses on PCG boards said they were struggling to do the extra work and where doing so in their own time.

Under the PCG system, GPs, nurses and other workers are responsible for commissioning care. This is intended to give patients closer contact with the people who decide what treatments they can have.

Dr Mike Dixon, chairman of the NHS Alliance, which represents most PCGs, said: "PCGs have been a silent revolution - a lot of it has been about organisational structure unknown to patients and those not involved.

"Part of the disillusionment among nurses may be because they feel they have not had their say. I think that is changing."

He said patients would begin to see chnages in the next few years, particularly if the extra money for the NHS announced in the budget was directed towards primary care.

"Things really are changing in a big way," added Dr Dixon.

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02 Feb 00 | Health
GPs get help to revamp NHS
01 Apr 99 | Health
NHS reforms take effect
04 Nov 99 | Health
NHS reforms: A guide
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