London: Profile Books in association with the Social Market Foundation, 1998
Calls for a system of direct charges at the point of use, including a £10.00 fee to see a doctor and a £25.00 fee for day surgery. Families could cap their spending by purchasing a "season ticket". Charging would encourage people to take responsibility for their own health, raise standards and limit demand.
Times, 3rd July 1998, p. 12
Reports speech by Tony Blair promising an increase in spending on the NHS above inflation for the next 8 years, linked to a modernisation programme designed to lift standards and end delays faced by patients. A new modernisation fund will be used to enable GPs and health trusts to become beacons of excellence, providing the highest standards of care and testing innovative practice.
(See also Guardian, 3rd July 1998, p. 4; Financial times, 3rd July 1998, p. 9)
Guardian, 16th July 1998, p. 20
Warns of the dangers of using private finance to fund capital investment in the NHS. Private companies who build hospitals and either rent them back to the NHS or run them and charge for their services will expect a handsome return for their investment. To pay the revenues the private consortia will demand, Authorities and Trusts will be forced to cut staff. The Department of Health's consultants estimate that for every £200 million spent on PFI developments, 1000 staff will have to go. Building the first 14 PFI hospitals will mean losing 3,700 acute beds, 700 more than the Health Secretary claims to have provided to cut waiting lists.
Guardian, 17th July 1998, p. 12; Independent, 17 July 1998, p. 2; Daily telegraph, 17th July 1998 p. 1 + 2; Financial Times, 17th July 1998, p. 13 + 22
Reports general outline of the allocation of the extra £12 billion promised to the NHS in the Comprehensive Spending Review. The money would be used to fund the recruitment of 7,000 more doctors and 15,000 more nurses over the next three years, together with an extra 6,000 nurse training places and a large increase in medical school places. It will also help to fund an £8 billion investment programme in new hospitals, clinics and surgeries. The £5 billion plus modernisation fund financed by the cash increase would pay for computer technology, health promotion, staff training and mental health services. There would be no charging at point of use during the lifetime of this Parliament. Health groups expressed scepticism over the recruitment pledges. Nurses would not return to the NHS without substantial improvements in pay and conditions. There are not 7,000 unemployed doctors available in the UK, and the posts might have to be filled from abroad.
T. Besley, J. Hall and I. Preston
European Economic Review, vol. 42, no. 3/5, May 1998, p. 491-497
Paper investigates the interaction between national health service provision and private medical insurance in the UK. Regional data on private insurance and NHS waiting lists are used to assess whether higher levels of private insurance can affect the way in which resources are allocated within the NHS.