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

6bn funding gap threatens NHS services

S. O'Grady

The Independent, Oct. 26th 2010, p. 5

The NHS will face a funding gap of about 6bn a year by 2015, the King's Fund, a leading health think tank, has revealed, warning that the funding gap will lead to delays in treatment for many patients.

Bowel-cancer screening gets 60m funding

M. Savage

The Independent, Oct. 4th 2010, p. 10

A bowel-cancer screening programme which will cost 60m and could save more than 3,000 lives a year has been announced by the coalition government.

Bucket list: how to dodge the dodgy stuff

N. Bosanquet

Health Service Journal, Oct. 21st 2010, p. 16-17

From 2011/12 to 2013/14 the national tariff for hospital and mental health treatments will be frozen. This means that by November 2011 some acute, community and mental health trusts could be running out of cash and be facing insolvency unless they immediately cut services. Trusts need to develop action plans in 2010 to enable them to live within their budgets, and should immediately start adding to their reserves.

Cuts force primary care trusts to halt non-emergency surgery

R. Ramesh

The Guardian, Oct. 13th 2010, p. 6

An NHS Primary Care Trust with a budget of 650m has been forced to announce a radical set of cuts which will mean non-emergency surgery in local hospitals being barred to patients for one month. The radical steps are required because South West Essex Trust will overspend this financial year by 53m, 8% of turnover and one of the largest in scale in England.

DH considers national pay increment freeze

S. Gainsbury

Health Service Journal, Oct. 28th 2010, p. 4-5

In the wake of the 2010 Comprehensive Spending Review, the Department of Health is considering freezing annual Agenda for Change pay increments for NHS staff. These are worth an average 2.5% per year.

Fair trading complaint raises competition warning

E. Davie

Health Service Journal, Oct. 21st 2010, p. 10-11

The healthcare social enterprise Circle has made a complaint to the Office of Fair Trading after finding it tough to break into the lucrative private healthcare market. It claims that agreements between insurers and private hospitals restrict choice, keep prices artificially high, and close local markets to new entrants and foundation trusts. It further claims that new providers are prevented from building up investment capital through profitable work from private health insurers. This effectively means they are blocked from taking on NHS work, where profit margins are lower.

NHS boost likely to go on social care

N. Timmins

Financial Times, Oct. 19th 2010, p. 4

Most of the NHS's promised budget increase is destined to be spent on social care, the NHS Confederation has stated today, despite a promise of a real-terms increase in funding for the health service in the spending review.

NHS slashes thousands of jobs - despite pledge to protect it from cuts

O. Wright and M. Savage

The Independent, Oct. 18th 2010, p. 4

The NHS has shed nearly 15,000 jobs in the past nine months despite the government's pledge that health would be protected from the spending cuts. Dozens of hospitals have shut wards and removed beds or are planning to do so while others have announced plans to save millions by scaling back on services.

Outsourcing quotas to drive mixed provider market

B. Clover

Health Service Journal, Oct. 28th 2010, p. 10-11

The Treasury has announced plans to explore setting quotas for NHS work to be outsourced to independent providers, beginning with pathology and community health services. There are concerns among private and third sector providers that a quota could soon become a cap rather than a minimum target.

PCTs make slow progress with QIPP

D. West and S. Gainsbury

Health Service Journal, Oct. 7th 2010, p. 4-5

HSJ has analysed the latest Quality, Innovation, Productivity and Prevention (QIPP) progress reports from more than 20 primary care trusts. The majority of those giving details of their progress so far admit they are falling behind on their cost savings targets, in some cases significantly.

Private sector may take over up to 30 failing NHS hospitals

S. Lister

The Times, Oct. 6th 2010, p. 15

Dr. Mark Britnell, the former director general of commissioning at the Department of Health, has told The Times that as many as 30 hospitals are in such financial distress that they could face take-over bids from the private sector. The government is supportive of greater private sector involvement in the NHS. Dr. Britnell is now the head of European Health at the accountants KPMG who have undertaken an analysis of the impact of the economic downturn on hospitals.

A social plan to ease savings pain

P. Kenmore

Health Service Journal, Oct. 14th 2010, p. 20-21

This article draws lessons for NHS organisations facing spending constraints from the Canadian experience of reducing the deficit in the public finances in the 1990s. The Canadians were not just concerned with saving money but also considered fundamental questions about how the country should be run, the role of the federal government, and what citizens could expect in return for their taxes.

Trusts hit by 130m fall in earnings

D. West

Health Service Journal, Oct. 28th 2010, p. 7

The 'marginal tariff' introduced by the Department of Health in 2010/11 means that trusts are only paid the full price for the same amount of emergency care as they provided in the same period two years earlier. If their emergency activity is above that baseline, they are paid only 30% of the normal fee. HSJ has teamed up with Dr Foster Intelligence to analyse emergency demand during the first quarter of 2010/11 compared with the same period in 2008/09. The analysis shows that 119 trusts out of 147 saw a rise in emergency demand of around 10% and lost income worth approximately 90m.

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