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Welfare Reform on the Web (April 2010): National Health Service - funding

Cancer drug that extends lives is too costly for NHS

R. Smith

Daily Telegraph, Mar. 4th 2010, p. 14

People with rare cancers of the blood and bone marrow will not be given a new drug on the NHS although it has been proven to extend patients' lives by nine months. The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence has decided that, at 45,000 per year per patient, azacitidine is too expensive.

Could cutting costs be a blessing in disguise?

K. Devlin

Daily Telegraph, Mar. 11th 2010, p. 22-23

Finding innovative ways to deliver healthcare to an ageing population could both cut costs and improve services. Possible reforms include moving care out of hospitals to cheaper community settings so that wards can be closed and bed numbers reduced; allowing patients to consult their physicians by email; more use of telephone helplines; and scrapping out-of-date treatments.

The cradle-to-grave service faces its toughest test yet

N. Bosanquet and A. Haldenby

Daily Telegraph, Mar. 8th 2010, p. 20-21

The NHS is in critical financial trouble and urgent need of reform, in spite of unprecedented levels of investment under the New Labour government. It is now essential to scale back the service's ambitions and its costs, which threaten to become unsustainable. The authors propose that teams running individual services should have full control over their budgets and incentives to save money, that patient choice should be promoted so that funding goes to services people want to use, including those run by private providers, and that services should be moved out of hospitals to cheaper community settings.

NHS accused of spending too much on managers and hiding costs

D. Campbell

The Guardian, Mar. 30th 2010, p. 13

A report by the Health Select Committee has revealed that the NHS spends 14% of its entire budget - about 15.4bn a year - on management and administration. The report accuses the Department of Health of burying the figure, which the MPs claim is due to local NHS organisations' failure to commission services properly.

Patients hit as NHS cash crisis forces big cutbacks

R. Ramesh

The Guardian, Mar. 3rd 2010, p. 1, 2 & 12

According to a recent study involving the think tank Civitas, more than a third of NHS primary healthcare trusts, which fund hospitals in England, are running deficits that have led to a cutback in surgical operations and seen calls to close casualty departments. The analysis shows that the health service overspend this year is more than 130m and the funding gap is already having an impact on patients, with GPs in some areas being told to they now need to obtain 'approval' for certain surgical procedures.

We can be the envy of the world - if we pay for it

J. Warner

Daily Telegraph, Mar. 12th 2010, p. 20-21

Healthcare costs in the UK will continue to rise inexorably due to technological advances and the pressure of population ageing. There are limits to how much public money can be directed to healthcare without starving other services. If people in the UK want better healthcare, they must be prepared to pay for it through co-payments, user charges and supplementary insurance.

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