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Welfare Reform on the Web (July 2011): National Health Service - funding

Bonuses are key to better care from GPs

Anon.

Daily Telegraph, June 29th 2011, p. 12

Research has shown that GPs given extra money to monitor patients with conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes looked after their needs more fully. Those with conditions that do not attract rewards, such as dementia and arthritis, could be sidelined. The findings raise questions about the unintended consequences of incentive schemes.

Dozens of trusts missed savings targets in 2010-11

B. Clover

Health Service Journal, June 9th 2011, p. 6-7

Analysis shows that acute trusts missed 2010-11's savings targets by an average of 10%. Figures from England's acute trusts show 26 trusts delivered less than 80% of their Cost Improvement Programme savings target. At the same time 23 trusts made more than a quarter of their savings from non-recurrent measures, meaning that steps taken may not be sustainable.

Is this the dawn of an ice age?

J. Appleby

Health Service Journal, June 2nd 2011, p. 14-15

Spending on the NHS is a political decision. In making that decision, future governments will be influenced by the extent of the economic recovery, consequent growth in GDP, demands and needs of other public services, and the amount of borrowing required. If the economy recovers more slowly than predicted, and government borrowing remains high, the squeeze on NHS finances could continue beyond 2015.

National Wealth Service. As Coalition retreats on NHS reform, investigation reveals conflict of interests that could give GPs a license to print money

O. Wright and E. Slater

The Independent, June 15th 2011, p.1

The article reports that an investigation by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism has revealed that one in seven doctors appointed to the new clinical commissioning boards, which will have responsibility for commissioning 60m worth of services for the NHS, could have a significant conflict of interest and could benefit directly from private companies working in the NHS. The Department of Health is expected to announce new rules to address perceived conflicts of interest within commissioning boards, before they start taking responsibility for commissioning in 2013. The report, however, highlights that there is an inherent problem in giving GPs responsibility for spending the bulk of NHS money, since they are increasingly involved in providing such services themselves.

NHS shake-up puts finance in the frame

L. Phillips

Public Finance, May 2011, p. 6-7

Under the controversial Health and Social Care Bill, 60bn of public funds are to be placed in the hands of GP Commissioning Consortia. There are concerns that they will not have the expertise to manage the money effectively. As the Bill stands, finance officers would be shared locally. Consortia are required only to have an accountable officer responsible for the proper stewardship of public money, not a chief finance officer.

Readmissions penalties could cost trusts 600m

C. Santry

Health Service Journal, June 17th 2011, p. 13

Acute trusts stand to lose between 2 and 5 per cent of their tariff income as a result of penalties for emergency readmissions. Rules which came into effect in 2011/12 mean that hospitals will not be paid for many emergency readmissions occurring within 30 days of an elective admission. The calculations also assume that commissioners will follow guidance stating that payment for eligible emergency readmissions occurring within 30 days of a non-elective admission should be reduced by 25%.

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