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08:34 on Wednesday
7 March 2001

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Positively Peterborough

NHS Service must improve say local bosses

Local company directors have backed a call from the Institute of Directors (IoD) nationally for a better NHS service.

The IoD has given the government a list of the 'top three things' which would make the NHS better for business. They are:

  1. NHS appointments which meet the needs of patients

  2. Reduced waiting times

  3. Fewer cancelled appointments and operations

Stephanie Smye, chairman of the IoD's Eastern Branch which represents more than 900 company directors across Cambridgeshire, said:

"Employers and employees pay tax to support the NHS and expect a service which is better geared to their needs.

"Working people lead increasingly busy lives. Hospitals and other NHS facilities should provide appointments that meet the needs of patients, not just the needs of the NHS. A system in which patients simply get a letter telling them when their appointment will be is not acceptable in the modern age. People should be asked when an appointment would be convenient.

"When it comes to waiting lists, businesses are concerned that the length of time people are waiting for treatment sometimes means that for months employees are not fit enough to give their best at work. They may even be away from work simply waiting for treatment. In extreme cases, the delay can be so long that the patient is obliged to drop out of the workforce altogether.

"And while it may be impossible to completely eliminate cancelled appointments and operations, every effort should be made to minimise them. When employees have arranged time off to attend hospital, and employers have made arrangements to cover the absence, it can be costly and frustrating to have appointments cancelled."

Miss Smye says that the local business community has an enormous interest in, and concern about, the state of health care in this area. She said:

"Excellent health care is a vital part of the business infrastructure of the country as good roads or telecommunications."

She added: "Dedicated NHS staff at all levels work extremely hard but are trapped within a system which does not allow them to use their skills to benefit patients as much as they would like. A better NHS will not only help those who use it - it should help those who work in it."

June 2000




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