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

Crunch time: coming to terms with funding cuts

S. Gainsbury

Health Service Journal, Apr. 30th 2009, p. 10-11

The NHS faces a real terms cut in government funding from 2011/12. In order to cope in the new age of austerity it needs to: scale back its ambitions, reduce staffing levels, especially among administrators, and make efficiency gains, particularly by squeezing acute trust income.

Health Bill 2009

J. Dow

Journal of Integrated Care, vol. 17, Apr. 2009, p. 20-21

This article examines proposals in the Health Bill for piloting direct payments which would allow patients to purchase their own care instead of receiving treatment from the NHS.

NHS cash subsidises private patients' care

S. Gainsbury

Health Service Journal, May 21st 2009, p.4-5

The Health Service Journal examined the costs and charges for 4,142 private patients treated in 13 NHS trusts in 2007/08. The trusts' data show that 1,238 of those patients were charged less than the hospital's average cost for providing the relevant type of treatment. Eleven of the 13 trusts undercharged by a gross total of 122,203. (See also Health Service Journal, May 28th 2009, p. 10-11)

NHS pins its hopes for treating back pain on acupuncture

J. Laurance

The Independent, May 27th 2009, p. 10 & 11

Back pain is among the most common reason for visits to family doctors (after colds and flu) and it affects one in three adults in the UK each year. The NHS spends 1.5bn on treating the condition, and much of that is wasted on worthless treatments, according to the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (Nice). From among 200 treatments and devices claimed to help a bad back, Nice has passed judgement on what works and what doesn't. X-rays, ultrasound and steroid injections are out and osteopathy, chiropractic and acupuncture are in. The new guidelines mark a watershed in the treatment of the condition and for Nice itself. It is the first time that the institute has issued a positive recommendation that the NHS provides, and pays for, alternative therapies. The advice, which the NHS trusts will be expected to implement over the coming months, is likely to cause controversy among orthodox clinicians who believe NHS money should be reserved for scientifically proven therapies.

NHS trust says sorry after two murders by patients in its care

S. Jones

The Guardian, May 6th 2009, p.8

Humber Mental Health Teaching NHS Trust has apologised to relatives of two women murdered in separate incidents by two men in its care. The mental health charity Sane warned that the same underlying problems in the care and treatment of people with mental health problems could lead to similar incidents elsewhere.

NHS trust's emergency care 'appalling' say reports

N. Timmins

Financial Times, May 1st 2009, p. 4

The Healthcare Commission has found that poorly handled reorganisations, a failure to take patient complaints seriously, and a 'closed culture' led to 'appalling' standards of emergency care at Mid-Staffordshire NHS Trust. The report came as Alan Johnson, health secretary, announced that hospitals will in future have to publish annually the number of complaints they receive and how many they successfully resolve. NHS staff have been reminded they have a duty to report poor quality care under the Public Interest Disclosure Act.

(See also The Independent, May 1st 2009, p. 26)

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