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

Charities call for reform of prescription charges to end 'risk to patients'

D. Rose

The Times, May 6 2008, p. 12

Health charities have called for a reform of NHS prescription charges in England arguing that the system is 'inherently unfair'. In a letter to The Times today, the heads of 14 leading heath charities suggest that 'latest research shows that around 800,000 people every year cannot afford their prescriptions'.

Hospitals hide funds to rein in surplus

N.Timmins

Financial Times, May 26th 2008, p. 1

Hospitals and primary care trusts have prepaid suppliers hundreds of millions of pounds and have hidden money in other ways to keep the NHS surplus for last year down to the forecast 1.8bn. Without these measures, the true surplus would have been nearer 3bn and there would have been a risk that the Treasury would have clawed back the cash.

(See also Times, May 27th 2008, p. 8)

NHS faces more instances of double running costs

N. Timmins

The Financial Times, May 9th 2008, p. 2

The promise by health ministers that new health services will open before old ones close is likely to mean that the NHS faces more instances of double running costs. The strategic health authorities are due to publish their report on how the services will be reshaped during the next month.

NHS pays higher prices to cut wait list

N. Timmins

Financial Times, May 30th 2008, p. 2

A scheme that pays private hospitals to perform operations on NHS patients has restarted, only months after the Department of Health cut back on it. Last-minute purchasing means the Health Service is paying well above the NHS price for the same operation. The move is being seen as an attempt to reduce waiting times to meet targets.

Patient surveys proposal wins warm reception

N. Timmins

Financial Times, May 15th 2008, p. 2

Proposals that the NHS should for the first time pay for quality by giving hospitals more if patients report a good outcome from treatment were given a warm welcome yesterday by the private sector and were enthusiastically backed by Monitor, the foundation trust regulator. However, doctors' leaders gave a more cautious response.

Pumped up prices fuel increasing overheads

A. Moore

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

Food, energy and fuel costs are rising at far more than the headline inflation figure of 2.5% measured by the Consumer Price Index. These price rises are putting pressure on NHS budgets, especially those of the big acute trusts.

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