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NHS plans for better patient deal- Daily Express

Kerry Gill, Daily Express, 10 April 2009

NHS patients should benefit from a legally enforceable charter, a think tank will argue today.

The health service should also seek to emulate the more "insurance based" health systems in other European countries, a report by Reform Scotland, titled Patient Power, says.

A new NHS constitution would set out the relationship between the health service and patients and clarify the role of Government.

The report\’s author, Geoff Mawdsley, said that the proposed charter went further than provisions in the SNP Government\’s Patients Rights Bill because it defined entitlement to care.

But measures in the forthcoming legislation could be adopted to minimise court action from disgruntled patients, Mr Mawdsley said, adding that he did not want to "feather the nest" of lawyers.

The report also calls for health boards to be replaced with bodies solely responsible for commissioning treatment from separate providers. Hospitals would be run by independent non-profit making trusts.

The overall budget for the NHS would come out of general taxation and be distributed to the new Health Commissioning Co-operatives.