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Welfare Reform on the Web (April 2012): National Health Service - funding

Control shift

A. Moore (editor)

Health Service Journal, Mar. 29th 2012, supplement, 29p.

This special supplement of the theme of efficiency offers articles with case studies on partnership working with suppliers to reduce service costs; maximising value of underused or empty space; leasing equipment instead of buying it outright; cutting the cost of agency workers; accessing high value equipment via managed service contracts; and outsourcing the hospital pharmacy

Efficiency savings: preparing for a bleak future

P. Majumder

British Journal of Healthcare Management, vol. 18, 2012, p. 136-140

The NHS is required to deliver 15bn of efficiency savings by 2014. In this article a clinician discusses, based on his experience in his own business unit, practical ways in which resource use can be optimised, waste eliminated and services be made more efficient through redesign, inspiring leadership, and income generation.

Foreigners to get free HIV drugs on the NHS

R. Winnett

Daily Telegraph, Feb. 28th 2012, p. 1

People from overseas not ordinarily resident in the UK are expected to pay for treatment for HIV, unlike other infectious diseases. The government signalled that it would end the anomaly and make HIV treatment free for those not legally settled in Britain. Campaigners argued that the change was essential to prevent the spread of infection and would help sufferers control their HIV before the condition became life-threatening and far more expensive to treat.

GPs and community service providers could face rent hike blow

D. Williams

Health Service Journal, Mar. 22nd 2012, p. 6-7

NHS Property Services Ltd is due to take over a core portfolio worth at least 1.7bn from primary care trusts. The new company will be expected to support itself from rental income. At present many clinical properties are leased to NHS providers or GPs at less than market rents. However, the new company, which will depend on rental income to survive, is expected to increase them significantly.

NHS database fiasco firm lands new 1bn IT deal

R. Winnett

Daily Telegraph, Mar. 6th 2012, p. 1 + 2

The American company Computer Sciences Corporation was reported to have threatened legal action against the government due to the cancellation of its contract for work on the abandoned national IT system for the NHS. It dropped the threatened legal challenge after being offered contracts worth 900m to run regional computer systems in the Midlands and Northern and Eastern England. This fiasco underlined the difficulties faced by the Coalition in extricating themselves from contracts awarded by the previous Labour administration.

NHS employers warn Osborne against imposing local pay rates

J. Jowit and H. Mulholland

The Guardian, Mar. 23rd 2012, p. 9

The government faced another bruising dispute with the NHS if it pushed ahead with full-blown local pay bargaining for millions of public sector workers, after health employers warned it could lead to staff shortages, low morale and worse patient care. Chancellor George Osborne confirmed in his 2012 budget statement that he wanted to see public sector pay "more responsive to local pay rates", to help the private sector recruit and expand. Unions also criticised the proposals, but criticism from the biggest public sector employer group was harder to brush aside. In its submission to the official consultation on the scheme, the NHS Employers group, which represented more than 2,500 hospitals and other health service bodies employing more than 1 million NHS workers who would be affected by the changes, said that it did not support localised pay rates, but would like more flexibility to help recruit and retain staff in areas with higher costs of living, for example.

Market power: a PCT acting as a monopsony

S. Bojakowski

British Journal of Healthcare Management, vol.18, 2012, p. 71-76

Monopsony is the opposite of monopoly and occurs when demand comes from a single buyer or purchaser. Organisations in a monopsony position can abuse their power. Primary care trusts (PCTs) are in a monopsony position as the sole purchasers of local NHS services and could abuse their power by driving down prices or restricting services to patients. Two reviews by the Co-operation and Competition Panel show that economic theory can provide tools to indicate if a PCT is abusing its power as a monopsony.

NHS costs soar as GPs focus on health reform

D. Campbell

The Guardian, Mar. 8th 2012, p. 1

Senior GPs were spending as little as one day a week seeing patients because they were too busy setting up new organisations as part of the coalition's health reforms, official NHS records revealed. Family doctors were devoting as many as four days a week to setting up clinical commissioning groups (CCGs), the groups of family doctors due to become key NHS bodies from April 2013. But it cost the NHS up to 123,900 a year to replace a GP with a locum. In one CCG area alone, 15 local doctors were each spending up to two days a week away from surgery, at a cost of almost 1m a year. Doctors' leaders claimed GPs' skills were going unused and that the costs involved showed how vital NHS funds were being wasted on health secretary Andrew Lansley's radical restructuring of the NHS in England.

Pay freeze fails to prevent trust wage overspend

C. Santry

Health Service Journal, Mar. 22nd 2012, p. 4-5

The NHS pay freeze failed to prevent acute hospitals from running up an estimated 300m overspend on staff salaries by January 2012. This appeared to be due to the majority of employees being automatically handed incremental pay rises worth on average 2.8 per cent a year.

When your world is turned upside down

A. Moore

Health Service Journal, Mar. 29th 2012, p. 22-24

Non-foundation acute trusts in serious financial difficulty will find it hard to move to foundation status and could face merger or takeover. There is also a tough new failure regime for foundation trusts in significant deficit which could lead to their being taken over or dissolved and their services closed or distributed to other providers if deemed essential.

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