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Beacon services: NHS Beacon Programme

The NHS Beacon programme was launched in 1999 to identify services that make significant contributions to modernising the NHS. The programme was designed to help people in other organisations learn how to mirror these experiences. NHS Executive Regional Offices provide advice on dissemination and link Beacons into regional plans, as well as with specialist learning centres. Beacons are also linked directly with national initiatives and programmes, and feature in guidance like National Service Frameworks.

In the first year of the programme 290 Beacon services in six broad areas were announced. ImpAct has included several case studies of these Beacons. The second year of the programme, announced on 15 September 2000, includes 68 new Beacons for 2000/2001 in eight broad areas (Table). These include five related to personality disorder in a new joint programme with the Home Office.

1999 Beacons

Primary Care 167
Mental Health 35
Waiting lists and times 33
Health improvement 24
Human Resources 23
Cancer Care 8

2000 Beacons

Outpatients 8
Coronary heart disease 12
Stroke 6
Palliative care 8
Human resources 6
Health improvement 9
Mental health 14
Personality disorder 5

A handbook identifies Beacon services and the learning they have to offer, about open days when people can visit Beacons, and other learning opportunities. Copies of the handbook are circulated widely within the service or can also be ordered from Status (below); an on-line version is available on the Beacon web-site at

NHS Beacon Programme

Contact Carolyn Johnson, at Status
Telephone 01730 266 544


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