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Welfare Reform on the Web (March 2008): National Health Service - funding

All or nothing: patients are told no to top-ups

A. Moore

Health Service Journal, Feb 14th 2008, p. 14-15

Patients who choose to buy drugs that are not funded by the NHS are being told that they will have to pay for all of their treatment, not just the drug, and be classed as a private patient. The Department of Health says that allowing co-payments would risk creating a two-tier service and undermine the basic legal obligation that NHS care must be provided free at the point of use.

Eleventh-hour changes to GP contract left PCTs with bill

S. Gainsbury

Health Service Journal, Feb. 28th 2008, p. 4-5

The introduction of a new GP contract in 2004 led to a 57% increase in practice income over the following three years. This huge increase was fuelled by a last-minute concession to the British Medical Association which involved the introduction of a minimum practice income guarantee. Funds to pay for the guarantee were shifted from those originally set aside to pay for the quality and outcomes framework incentive scheme, but Department of Health negotiators neglected to balance this by capping the reward payments practices could earn under the framework.

Unison takes Monitor to court in wake of income cap silence

S. Gainsbury

Health Service Journal, Feb. 7th 2008, p. 5

Unison has launched judicial review proceedings against foundation trust regulator Monitor in a bid to stop foundation trusts using arm's-length organisations to expand private patient work. The union is challenging the legality of Monitor's financial guidance to foundation trusts, which allows them to avoid a cap on private patient income by setting up a separate company to provide treatment.

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