HC Deb 09 December 1997 vol 302 cc491-2W
Mr. Ernie Ross

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland when he expects to publish his White Paper on the future of the NHS in Scotland; and if he will make a statement. [20239]

Mr. Dewar

Our White Paper on the future of the NHS in Scotland, "Designed to Care", is published today. Copies have been laid before the House. Copies are available in the Library of the House and the Vote Office.

Our objective is a modernised patient-centred health service designed to ensure that wherever patients make use of the services of the NHS they receive the highest quality care. We will create a seamless service which gives patients continuity of care from GP through hospital to rehabilitation. And we will harness new technologies to improve reliability and effectiveness of patient care.

The White Paper sets out clearly the system which will replace the internal market in health care. The cost of the internal market has been fragmentation, bureaucracy and the beginning of a two-tier service. Our proposals will save £100 million over the lifetime of this Parliament, money which will be reinvested in patient care. "Designed to Care" honours our commitment to retain the central role for primary care whilst removing the disadvantages of GP fundholding. We will do this by giving strong organisational support to primary care through the creation of Primary Care Trusts, which will allow professionals to take the lead in combining locally to organise health services for the benefit of all patients in their area. We have retained distinct roles for those responsible for strategy and those responsible for service delivery to promote devolved decision-making.

"Designed to Care" re-focuses NHS Trusts on improving services to patients and gives clinicians and those who use their services a bigger say in their management. We are committed to fewer NHS Trusts, and the White Paper sets out the criteria to guide this process to a speedy conclusion.

"Designed to Care" sets out our vision for the future of the NHS in Scotland, with solutions suited to Scottish needs. It lays the foundation for the work of the Scottish Parliament in continuing to improve the health of the people of Scotland.

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