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

400 dentists earn more than 300,000 a year

K. Devlin

Daily Telegraph, Aug. 5th 2009, p.6

Figures released by the NHS Information Centre show that nearly 400 NHS dentists earned more than 300,000 in 2007/2008. A further 1,200 earned more than 200,000. Earnings are rising despite 1.2 million fewer patients seeing an NHS dentist between 2006, when a new contract was introduced, and 2008. The income is before tax, but after expenses such as renting surgeries and paying staff have been deducted.

Alzheimer's sufferers charged for care could claim millions from NHS

N. Britten

Daily Telegraph, Aug. 20th 2009, p. 1

Three families have recently won legal battles to reclaim nursing care fees that were incorrectly charged by NHS trusts. These precedents could unleash a flood of claims against primary care trusts that refuse to cover costs of care required people in residential homes with conditions such as Alzheimer's disease on the grounds that they are not health related. (See also Daily Telegraph, Aug. 19th 2009, p.1 + 9)

Auld arguments

S. Stevens

Health Service Journal, Aug. 13th 2009, p. 14

The so-called Barnett formula has been used for the past three decades to allocate more than half of total public expenditure in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Inaccurate population estimates and failure to take account of relative need mean that English taxpayers are subsidising public services, including healthcare, in Scotland to the tune of 1,100 to 1,600 per head. As public spending is cut overall, the Scottish Parliament will need to use its own tax raising powers to pay for free prescriptions, free personal care and free hospital parking

Hospitals face cash squeeze from Tories

S. Coates

The Times, Aug. 3rd, 2009, p. 1 & 8

The Times has learnt that hospitals will receive less money for operations and treatments under plans by the Conservative Party to restrict the NHS budget. The party has promised to reinvest all savings made into the NHS. The plan would be to find ways to reduce the 'tariff' paid to hospitals for procedures by the Department of Health. It is suggested that the reduction in costs would be made through 'efficiency savings'.

Matching best performers could save 20pc

S. Gainsbury

Health Service Journal, Aug. 6th 2009, p. 4-5

The Department of Health has published its 'programme budget' data, which show how 93bn of NHS funds were spent in 2007/08. Analysis shows that the NHS could make savings of 20% if all primary care trusts spent as efficiently as the best. For example, if success in tackling heart disease was measured in terms of the biggest relative decrease in premature deaths, Hartlepool primary care trust would be the best achiever. Deaths among people under 65 decreased by 56% between 2000 and 2007. Yet the 2,688 it spends per heart disease patient is 24% lower than the national average.

NHS trusts told to prepare for restrictions on funding

N. Timmins

Financial Times, Aug. 10th 2009, p. 2

William Moyes, chairman of the regulator Monitor, has suggested three-year plans by flagship NHS trusts are not realistic about the likely impact of the forthcoming pressure on health spending.

Searching for cost effectiveness thresholds in the NHS

J. Appleby and others

Health Policy, vol. 91, 2009, p. 239-245

The UK's National Institute for Health and Clinical Evidence (NICE) has an explicit cost effectiveness threshold for deciding whether or not services are to be provided in the NHS, but there is currently little evidence to support the level at which it is set. This study explores whether it is possible to obtain such evidence by examining decision making elsewhere in the NHS. Its objectives are to set out a conceptual model linking NHS decision making based on explicit thresholds with the thresholds implicit in local decision making and to gauge the feasibility of (a) identifying those implicit local cost effectiveness thresholds and (b) using these to gauge the appropriateness of NICE's explicit threshold.

Urgent attention for non-emergency care

D. West

Health Service Journal, Aug. 6th 2009, p. 10-11

Too many patients with non-emergency complaints are being transported by ambulance. A very large proportion of these would be better, and more cheaply, served by their GP, community services or a minor injury unit. There are wide variations in the number of these incidents per 1,000 population in each primary care trust. This article analyses the figures and looks at the explanations.

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