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

585m bill for advice to health department

N. Timmins

Financial Times, Nov. 2nd 2009, p. 3

The Commons Health Select Committee has found that the Department of Health has spent 585m - which would pay for a new district general hospital - on management, legal and financial consultants over the last four years.

GPs offered a bonus not to prescribe antibiotics

K. Devlin

Daily Telegraph, Nov. 12th 2009, p. 14

Around half of all primary care trusts are running incentive schemes to reduce the number of antibiotics prescribed by GPs. Trusts argue that it is necessary to pay GPs, who earn on average more than 100,000 a year, because explaining to patients why they should not receive an antibiotic can take longer than writing a prescription.

Healthy debates

N. Dickson

Public Finance, Oct. 23rd-29th 2009, p. 26-27

The current crisis in the public finances will necessitate deep cuts in spending on the NHS after 2011, which will impact on frontline care. None of the three main political parties grappled with this issue at their 2009 conferences. All promised cuts in administration and regulation, which will not generate the savings required.

Managers' anger at name and shame threat

C. Santry

Health Service Journal, Nov. 12th 2009, p. 4-5

Health Minister Mike O'Brien has threatened in several speeches to 'name and shame' NHS managers who respond to financial constraints by cutting budgets and services rather than finding creative ways of releasing funds for the frontline. These threats clash with warnings from the NHS chief executive that trusts need to start planning for spending cuts immediately, in preparation for financial constraints expected from 2011.

NHS told to make changes, not cuts

N. Timmins

Financial Times, Nov. 4th 2009, p. 4

Nesta, the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts has said the NHS can make 20bn of savings over the next five years if it focuses on community-driven preventive programmes that involve patients in their own care.

NICE rejects bowel cancer drug as 'too costly'

Draft guidance from the National Institute for Clinical Excellence rejects the bowel cancer drug Avastin for NHS use on the grounds that it is not cost effective. The drug, which costs about 1,800 per month, has been shown to shrink tumours in 78% of patients when taken in combination with the bowel cancer drugs capecitabine and oxaliplatin.

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