The NHS in England: The operating framework for 2006/7

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The 2006/7 Operating Framework, published at the end of January 2006, sets out the Department of Health's priorities for the NHS in England over the next financial year, a year which the document expects to be 'challenging'.

It is aimed primarily at NHS managers and their counterparts in local government. It sets out priorities and guidance for the NHS but also contains some rules of engagement, which, it makes clear, are binding: 'no health community will be able to opt out or change the rules unilaterally'.

This briefing describes the main points contained in the document and provides some commentary about what the document implies for the competing strands of NHS reform.