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

'All bets are off' warns Nicholson as he tells NHS to prepare now for cuts

R. Evans and S. Gainsbury

Health Service Journal, June 4th 2009, p. 4-5

The NHS chief executive has warned that the service will have to make 15bn-20bn in efficiency savings in 2011-14. This gives NHS managers enough time to plan the necessary changes which may enable the service to deliver more for less.

Doctors fear they will lose millions if patients complain about having to wait

S. Lister

The Times, June 30th 2009, p. 18

Most general practices around the country are expected to suffer losses - some as much as 25,000 - when the results of the GP Patient Survey are released. The survey, the first to penalise financially doctors who receive negative responses, is expected to cost practitioners more than 10 million and in the worst cases could force cutbacks such as staff redundancies. The system, although designed to encourage a better service from GPs, has been criticised for punishing some practices that need more help.

(See also Daily Telegraph, June 30th 2009, p. 1and 2)

Fitter for purpose

N. Plumridge

Public Finance, May. 29th-June 4th 2009, p. 24-26

The savings required of the NHS from the Treasury's operational efficiency programme from April 2011 amount to real-terms cuts in spending of at least 2.3%. It is proposed that savings can be achieved by:

  1. a consolidation of clinical support functions, particularly pathology
  2. a consolidation of back-office functions and collaborative purchasing
  3. disposal of surplus land and buildings
  4. exploitation of planned changes to the payment by results system
  5. downward pressure on staff pay
  6. reductions in training provision.

The personalisation agenda and patient choice are likely to be casualties of the new age of fiscal austerity.

Managers worried by budget cuts call for early pay talks

S. Gainsbury

Health Service Journal, June 18th 2009, p. 4-5

As public spending on the NHS is cut back in real terms from 2011/12, staff redundancies and below inflation pay rises are anticipated. Unions are being asked to consider deals that balance low pay increases with guarantees over staffing levels, the NHS pension and career flexibilities.

Spending cuts start to bite as hospitals lose 500 million

S. Lister

The Times, June 11th 2009, p.1

The Times has seen correspondence between health officials which suggests that 'The Treasury is unlikely to agree further releases of funding' in order to build the new generation of community hospitals proposed by the government three years ago. The withholding of this 500m which had been promised for this regeneration project is the first indication of the major impact of the recession on the NHS. Andy Burnham, the newly appointed Health Secretary played down fears of a funding crisis but admitted that the NHS would face a challenge over the next five to ten years.

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

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