Published: 07/10/2004, Volume II4, No. 5926 Page 16 17

'The question is about how we achieve excellent services and how we move the legacy [of underinvestment] to universal excellence, ' says Mr Hanafin.

The SHA has identified three key areas that it expects trusts to deliver and work hard on over the next year (see story above).

Mr Hanafin is keen to stress the work that has already been done on new models of primary care services.

'I led a team to Manchester earlier this year to learn from their tier-two service models... this has been one of our big thrusts of work, ' he says.

The SHA has also been heavily involved in leading a diagnosis project for each trust over the last year to identify different weaknesses as the SHA is very clear that it wants all its trusts to aspire to three-star status next year.

Mr Hanafin says that if trusts are 'trogging along at two stars then a change of leadership or mergers would be considered'.

He is keen to flag up some of the work being carried out across the region.The focus is on bringing some general specialist services back to Essex and away from the big London teaching hospitals.

A new cardiac centre for Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals foundation trust has been given the go-ahead by the government.

The region is also proposing to increase capacity in specialist dermatology services.