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Welfare Reform on the Web (April 2009): National Health Service - funding

Doctors call for free prescriptions

R. Smith

Daily Telegraph, Mar. 5th 2009, p. 2

The British Medical Association has called for all prescriptions in England to be made free. Only 11% of patients pay for prescriptions, and this will fall in April 2009 when cancer patients will be exempt for five years. The government has promised that exemptions will be extended to all people with long term conditions, but doctors say that this would leave a small minority still paying a fee, which would be nonsensical.

Health loses out under Treasury PFI package

S. Gainsbury

Health Service Journal, Mar.12th 2009, p. 12-13

In a typical public finance initiative (PFI) scheme, equity providers such as construction firm Carillion invest up to 10% of the capital value in the form of an equity stake - like a mortgage deposit - with the remaining 90% funded through bank loans. The problem in the current recession is that banks are reluctant to lend. In order to plug the gap, the Treasury anticipates that its new arms length lending company will lend 1bn-2bn to schemes in 2009/10. Loans are likely to go to new roads, schools and waste disposal projects, not to hospital building schemes. It is also feared that the Treasury will claw back any underspend in the Department of Health capital expenditure budget over the next three years.

Hospitals charge 110m to park

M. Moore

Daily Telegraph, Feb. 27th 2009, p. 2

Figures for 2007/08 released in response to Parliamentary questions, showed that hospitals raised 83m in parking fees from patients and visitors, while staff were charged 27m. In contrast, hospitals in Wales and Scotland subsidise free car parking.

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