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

London acutes could see workload fall by 72%

S. Gainsbury

Health Service Journal, Sept. 10th 2009, p. 6-7

A report disseminated by NHS London warns that plans to move care out of hospitals and into GP surgeries and polyclinics will lead to hospitals in the capital needing to reduce their beds by two thirds. If acute trusts do not rationalise their fixed overheads and estates, they will be left with annual unfunded costs of up to 3.4bn. The report also warns that the recession means that funding will be cut; hospitals must therefore prepare for even greater changes.

McKinsey exposes hard choices to save 20bn

S. Gainsbury

Health Service Journal, Sept. 10th 2009, p. 12-13

The report by the consultants McKinsey & Co on the options for efficiency savings in the NHS recommends:

  • Cutting the posts of 3,500 GPs and 1,600 district nurses. If the worst performing GPs and district nurses saw more patients per week, the same numbers could be treated by fewer staff.
  • Increasing the number of beds per square metre in acute hospitals to vacate space, which would then not need to be heated or maintained. A further 8.3bn could be raised if vacant space was then sold off.
  • Withdrawing some treatments which are of little clinical benefit, thus reducing patient demand.

NHS targets 'will cost one job in 10'

K. Devlin

Daily Telegraph, Sept 3rd 2009, p. 2

A report commissioned by the Department of Health from consultants McKinsey and Company recommends cutting 137,000 NHS posts in order to achieve efficiency savings of between 15bn and 20bn between 2011 and 2014. Other suggestions include a freeze on recruitment and an early retirement scheme for GPs and community nurses. The NHS could also save 700m if procedures of limited clinical benefit such as varicose vein removal were no longer offered.

(See also Health Service Journal, Sept. 3rd 2009, p. 4-5)

Rural GPs at risk as dispensing fee is cut

R. Smith

Daily Telegraph, Sept. 24th 2009, p. 8

GP practices that also dispense medicines are predominantly located in rural areas and 3.5 million patients rely on them to be able to see their doctor and collect their drugs in one trip. However, the NHS has announced that the fee per medicine dispensed will drop from 2.14 to 1.95, resulting in an income reduction of 850.00 per month for the average dispensing practice. Practices may have to cut back other services to compensate for the loss.

Tories to cut rate of spending on NHS

J. Kirkup

Daily Telegraph, Sept. 10th 2009, p. 1

The shadow health secretary, Andrew Lansley, has said that a Tory government would cut the rate of increase of spending on the NHS. He warned that small increases in the budget would have to go hand in hand with savings which could be ploughed back into front line services to meet the needs of an ageing population.

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