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Health trust not up to its task - claim

PUBLISHED: 09:43 02 March 2009 | UPDATED: 13:10 03 July 2010

THE NHS in Great Yarmouth and Waveney is not up to the task of delivering good health services, while the rest of Norfolk also has improvements to make, according to independent experts.

THE NHS in Great Yarmouth and Waveney is not up to the task of delivering good health services, while the rest of Norfolk also has improvements to make, according to independent experts.

NHS Yarmouth and Waveney needs a “radical transformation”, while NHS Norfolk needs to make up its mind whether it wants to make real health improvements or just tinker round the edges.

That is the verdict of an outside review of the performance of local primary care trusts (PCTs), which commission and pay for almost all local health services, from doctors and dentists to operations and specialist care, which may then be provided by other organisations. The most damning comments are on Yarmouth and Waveney, which is told it is being hamstrung by a lack of a good strategic plan and its board is not sufficiently aware of the challenges its faces. NHS Norfolk is told it needs to start setting targets of measurable improvements in local people's health.

The reports come from a panel including the strategic health authority, the chief executive of another PCT, a clinician, a local council representative and an independent international healthcare expert. They looked at world-class commissioning, a new system of buying local healthcare which is supposed to improve services by using what works best from around the country and around the world. Because world-class commissioning is ambitious, PCTs are not expected to do well in the first year.

Yarmouth and Waveney is told that “the panel is unable to see how the PCT will spend £66m effectively to improve the care delivered to its population”.

The report adds that the board “does not recognise how far it still has to go”. But it does say that the PCT's dental service is the best in the region.

Chief executive Mike Stonard said: “We have already instituted a robust review of management arrangements to address areas of weakness and we are confident that we will see an improvement in performance this year.

“We are also taking forward key pieces of work to ensure that our strategic plans are more focussed and better demonstrate the ways in which we will continue to deliver high quality services.”

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