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Welfare Reform on the Web (August 2000): National Health Services - Funding

BENCH MARKING AND INCENTIVES IN THE NHS

P. A. Grout, A. Jenkins and C. Propper

London : Office for Health Economics, 2000

Paper examines general issues in the use of benchmarking as a measure of comparative performance, reviews the application of benchmarking in the public and private sectors and then examines the application of benchmarking in the NHS. Argues that doctors and managers should be given cash incentives based on comparisons between different hospitals.

COUNTING THE COST OF MEDICINE

N. Timmins and D. Pilling

Financial Times, June 22nd 2000, p.25

Article discusses the role of the National Institute of Clinical Excellence in deciding which drugs and new health technologies are cost effective. It also compares the UK system of paying for drugs with those of other countries.

DRUGS PRODUCER THREATENS TO HALT PRODUCTION AFTER DOH PRICE CAP

T. Shifrin

Health Service Journal, vol. 110, June 1st 2000, p. 2-3

Manufacturer Norton Healthcare has reacted to the government's proposals to cap prices of generic drugs by threatening to stop production in two months.

GENERICS PRICE CAP IS UP BY 500%

T. Shifrin

Health Service Journal, Vol. 110, June 29th 2000, p. 6-7

Government is proposing to increase the maximum prices for generic drugs by up to 500% after the UK's biggest manufacturer threatened to stop production.

HARD CASH, HARD CHOICES

S. Ward

Public Finance, May 26th - June 1st 2000; p. 20-21

Major funding issues facing the NHS include changes to salary levels, revenue support for Private Finance Initiative projects, drug price inflation, and the cost of looking after the elderly.

HEALTH MONOPOLY NEEDS A REGULATOR

G. Searjeant

Times, May 25th 2000, p. 31

Defines the NHS as an inefficient producer driven monopoly which could be improved by the introduction of competition or the institution of a regulator operating financial incentives.

KIDDERMINSTER'S UNKINDEST CUTS

A. Pollock, D. Price and M. Dunningan

Public Finance, June 9th - 15th 2000, p. 28-30

Presents results of a review of Worcestershire's health services strategy and the effects on it of Worcester Royal Infirmary's PFI. Recurrent financial defecits in all the local trusts have provided a rationale for service contraction linked to investment in a more cost-effective hospital infrastructure. However, a relatively expensive form of capital financing, PFI has exacerbated deficits instead of solving them, leading to even deeper service cuts and the loss of Kidderminster's General Hospital.

(See also Guardian, June 13th 2000, p.21)

MS SUFFERERS CONDEMN NHS CURB ON DRUG TREATMENT.

T. Womersley, G. Jones and D. Demetrion

Daily Telegraph, June 22nd 2000, p. 1-2

A leaked report from the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (Nice) claims that the effects of beta interferon in the treatment of multiple sclerosis are marginal. Nice proposes that the money would be better spent on physiotherapy and rehabilitation, than on the drug. Nice is expected to issue its final guidance on beta interferon in August after feedback from patient groups, professional groups and the manufacturer.

(See also Times, June 22nd 2000, p. 11; Financial Times, June 22nd 2000, p.4)

OFFICIALS DREW UP PLANS FOR NHS CUTS COVER-UP

P. Waugh

Independent, June 29th 2000, p. 1

Reports that government has agreed cuts of up to 24% in the budgets of Health Action Zones this financial year (2000/01).

(See also Times, June 29th 2000, p. 6; Guardian, June 29th 2000, p.11)

THE PRICE OF A LIFE

A. Miles

Times 2, May 25th 2000, p. 3-5

Argues that the NHS can never be saved by injecting more cash, since this simply fuels demand and patient expectations. Instead, expectations need to be reduced to realistic levels, and costs contained, through an explicit system of rationing treatment.

TEETHING TROUBLE

J. Haywood and J. Keen

Guardian, June 26th 2000, p. 18

The government's promise of NHS dental care for all who want it is not likely to be kept unless it is prepared to invest £100-£150 million on expanding dental services and adequately rewarding NHS dentists.

TONY'S BILLIONS : WHERE WILL HE FIND THE MONEY FOR THE NHS

J. Appleby and S. Boyle

Health Care UK, Spring 2000, p. 64-70

In order to fulfil its pledge to increase spending on health care to the European average within five years, the government will be forced to either massively increase public spending, or reduce spending on other services such as transport or education, or encourage spending on private health care.

NHS SPENDING :PROBLEM SOLVED

J. Appleby

New Economy, vol. 7, 2000, p. 99-103

The government has this year made a massive cash injection into the ailing NHS. Article explores how this money will be spent, whether the spending plans will meet public expectations, and whether the increased spending can improve public health.

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