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Welfare Reform on the Web (May 2000): National Health Service - Funding

£90M CASH INJECTION NOT ENOUGH TO COUNTER SOARING DRUG PRICES

K. McIntosh

Health Service Journal, vol.110, Feb. 3rd 2000, p.6-7

A £90 million one-off cash injection by the government has failed to wipe out an overspending crisis caused by the soaring cost of unbranded drugs.

CURRENT ISSUES IN NHS FUNDING FLOWS (ENGLAND)

BMA Health Policy and Economic Research Unit briefing note; 9

Report says that there is considerable public confusion about NHS spending arising from: successive announcements of the same spending for the same project; announcements of long-term funding made in a way that suggests that money will be available immediately; and creative cumulative accounting, whereby the extra money provided each year is added together and the final total presented as extra new money. Because the additional money is recurrent, the government counts it in year 1, multiplies it by 2 in year 2 and by 3 in year 3, giving a multiple of six over the whole three year period.

FIXING UP THE NHS 'PATIENT'

P. Minford

Daily Telegraph, Jan. 31st 2000, p.24

Argues for the introduction of private finance into the NHS through tax relief on medical insurance.

"GETTING UK HEALTH CARE EXPENDITURE UP TO THE EUROPEAN UNION MEAN": WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?

A. Towse and J. Sussex

British Medical Journal, vol.320 Mar. 4th 2000, p.640-642

The prime minister intends NHS spending to rise in real terms by 5% a year to achieve 8% of GDP being spent on health care by 2006. Achieving this target would require 5.8% real growth in NHS spending every year, assuming that private health care spending rises in line with GDP. The 8% target understates the average proportion of GDP spent on health care in the European Union outside the UK, which is 9.1%. Therefore a real annual increase of 7.7-8.7% in NHS resources is required to match EU levels.

HOW TO MAKE OUR NHS FIT FOR THE FUTURE

L. Fox

Daily Telegraph, Feb. 2nd 2000, p.28

In order to relieve pressure on the NHS, government should offer tax relief on private health care insurance.

IN NEED OF A SECOND OPINION

A. Maynard

Health Service Journal, vol.110, Feb. 3rd 2000, p.20-21

Argues that the current crisis in NHS funding is due to parsimonious Conservative spending plans to which the Labour government has adhered and to Blair's ambitious reform and modernisation programme. Proposes prioritisation of patient groups for treatment and health care rationing as means to ensure that money is well spent.

NHS FUNDING

J. Appleby

Health Service Journal, vol.110, Feb. 3rd 2000, p.32

Argues that throwing more money at the NHS in a bid to match health spending in other countries will only create a self-defeating cycle of higher and higher expectations.

NHS PAY RISES GIVE MANAGERS HEADACHE

S. Ward

Public Finance, Jun. 21st-27th 2000, p.12

The government's failure to fully fund the generous pay award to health workers is putting an even greater strain on hard-pressed NHS finances.

PROTECTING THE PUBLIC PURSE: ENSURING PROBITY IN THE NHS

Audit Commission

Abingdon: Audit Commission Publications, 1999. (Audit Commission update)

The value of detected fraud in the NHS reported in England and Wales has almost doubled in 1998/99 compared to 1997/98, but more needs to be done, particularly in Wales. Payments for medical services, payroll, income misappropriation and payments to contractors remain the key areas at risk of fraud and corruption. Some progress has been made, including the establishment of a Directorate of Counter Fraud Services within the NHS Executive. However, progress has been slow in many key areas. Almost 40% of health bodies do not have 'whistle blowing' policies and almost half the trusts in England and Wales, and one third of Health Authorities in England, do not have a designated police contact.

UK ECONOMIC OUTLOOK FEBRUARY 2000

Price Waterhouse Coopers

London: 2000

Warns that giving into pressures to increase spending on health care to EU levels risks wiping out the budget surplus and raising interest rates to unnecessarily high levels. Bringing Britain in line with EU spending on health could mean the bill for the NHS rising from £52.5 bn per year to £90 bn.

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