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May 1997

New Labour and the internal market in the NHS

The new Secretary of State for Health, Frank Dobson, confirmed the Labour party's manifesto commitment to abolish the internal market.

8 December 1997

'The new NHS: modern, dependable' white paper

The new Labour government set out its intentions for NHS reform and announced programmes to improve public health.


Political devolution of the UK's health services

The passage of three Acts of Parliament established devolved legislatures in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.

April 1998

GP commissioning pilots

The Department of Health commissioned an evaluation of 40 GP commissioning pilots to test new approaches to primary care-led commissioning.

1 July 1998

'A first class service - quality in the NHS' consultation document

The government set out, and invited comments on, their plans for re-organisation of the NHS to tackle quality variation.

December 1998

Public service agreements (PSAs)

As part of the comprehensive spending review, the government set new targets to reduce NHS waiting lists and reduce health inequalities.

March 1999

NHS performance assessment framework

The NHS performance assessment framework (PAF) aimed to deliver a broader view of performance in the NHS.

1 April 1999

National Institute for Clinical Excellence

NICE aimed to reduce variation of the availability and quality of NHS services: later changing its name to the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence and extending into public health.

1 April 1999

Primary Care Groups

Following commitments to abolish GP fundholding in 'The new NHS' white paper, PCGs replaced family health authorities (previously responsible for commissioning primary care).