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

400m spending limit forced on NHS

S. Gainsbury

Health Service Journal, Nov. 13th 2008, p.4-5

Health organisations will be allowed to spend just 400m of their 1.7bn surplus in financial year 2009/10 and will not get the full increase in resources previously promised by the Treasury. The tight restrictions on spending the surplus follow warnings that for the period after 2010 the NHS should expect its funding to grow by between just 1.5 and 2 per cent, compared with the 6.7 per cent promised by the Treasury for the years 2008-09 to 2010-11.

A case of the emperor's new clothes?

R. Jones

British Journal of Healthcare Management, vol. 14, 2008, p. 460-461

This article explores the vexed question of why the prices submitted by different NHS hospitals for the same healthcare resource group (HRG) vary so much. It is argued that speciality is a key factor in the cost of each HRG. For some 635 HRGs describing elective overnight admissions, only 7% have just one speciality and over 50% have more than ten specialities delivering care to patients within the scope of the HRG.

Heard above the noise

E. Dent

Health Service Journal, Nov. 27th 2008, p. 20-22

Improving cancer treatment has been a government priority since the early 1990s, and it has been kept in the public eye by vociferous campaigning groups. However, spending on cancer could be at the expense of other needs, such as palliative care. Primary care trusts need to improve the way in which they communicate controversial decisions about funding (or not funding) expensive cancer drugs to the public.

NHS braced for the worst of Darling's 5bn spending cull

S. Gansbury

Health Service Journal, Nov. 27th 2008, p. 4-5

The NHS budget is one of 12 areas of public spending highlighted as a target for a share of 5bn of cuts planned for 2010/11 in the Pre-Budget Report. Commissioning is cited as an area in which savings could be made and World Class Commissioning will be assessed in the 2009 budget for the impact it will have on value for money. However 100m of planned capital expenditure is to be brought forward from 2010/11 to 2009/10 to upgrade 600 GP practices to training practices as part of the Treasury's 3bn fiscal stimulus.

NHS pay modernisation: new contracts for General Practice services in England

Committee of Public Accounts

London: TSO, 2008 (House of Commons papers, session 2007/08: HC 463)

The new contract for NHS general practice is intended to attract more doctors into general practice through better pay and improved conditions. The NHS is expected to benefit by linking GPs' pay to their clinical performance and improved accessibility to services through more flexible working. The NHS has realised some but not of all the benefits from the new contract. Over the first three years, the contract cost 1.8 billion more than originally expected because the Department underestimated the cost of delivering services such as out-of-hours care. The level of GP performance, as measured by the Quality and Outcomes Framework, also exceeded estimates and led to additional expenditure. The report examines the contract negotiation, the cost implications, and the extent to which the expected benefits for patients and the NHS are being realised.

The time of their lives

A. Moore

Health Service Journal, Oct. 30th 2008, p. 20-22

The NHS has limited resources. It faces a dilemma over decisions whether to invest in services for older people who have already had a fair innings or to spend the money on health promotion initiatives that would benefit younger people and reduce future costs of treatment. The government's stance on the place of older people in the priorities hierarchy seems contradictory. There is also a danger that failing to provide adequate NHS services for older people who have contributed to it all their lives could undermine public support.

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