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Welfare Reform on the Web (June 2001): National Health Service - Funding

BILLION-DOLLAR MAN

L. Eaton

Health Service Journal, vol. 111, Mar. 15th 2001, p. 16-17

Outlines how the funding allocated to the NHS in England in the 2001 budget is to be spent. Over the next three years there will be £150m a year for capital investment and £135m for staff recruitment and retention. The remaining £254m has not yet been allocated.

ENGLISH TO CASH IN ON FREE WELSH MEDICINE

S. de Bruxelles

Times, Apr. 3rd 2001, p. 7

Reports decision by the Welsh Assembly to abolish prescription charges and charges for NHS dental check-ups for people under 25.

MONEY WHERE THE MOUTH IS

L. Whitfield

Health Service Journal, vol. 111, Mar. 29th 2001, p. 18

Information technology infrastructure upgrades in the NHS are being put on hold as funding is diverted to cover staff costs, National Institute of Clinical Excellence decisions and other pressures.

NHS BUDGET BOOST FAILS TO EASE PLAN PRESSURES

S. Brown

Public Finance, Mar. 16th-21st 2001, p. 11

In November 2000, health authorities were given an average 8.5% increase in funding. Unfortunately unavoidable cost increases are running between 6% and 7%, driven by high pay rises for staff, a costly new deal for junior doctors and "intensity payments" for consultants.

This leaves insufficient funds to meet the targets for service improvements set by the NHS Plan.

(See also Health Service Journal, vol. 111, Mar. 29th 2001, p. 8-9)

NHS CASH BOOST FAILS TO SATISFY EXPECTATION

C. Hall

Daily Telegraph, Mar. 15th 2001, p. 14

Labour made an extra £2.2bn available to the NHS in 2000/01, but the money is failing to deliver the expected improvements. Consultants suspect the money is being diverted to the purchase of information technology, paying off debts and funding drugs recommended by NICE.

NHS STAFF WOOED WITH GOLDEN HELLO'S

J. Carvel

Guardian, Mar. 14th 2001, p. 6

Discusses government plans to spend £168m over the next three years on a package of golden hello's and loyalty bonuses to attract and retain more staff to the health service. The £56m annual recruitment and retention initiative is funded by the Chancellor's £850m health budget.

(See also Independent, Mar. 14th 2001, p. 11; Times, Mar. 14th 2001, p. 6)

OUT FOR THE COUNT

P. Stephenson

Health Service Journal, vol. 111, Apr. 12th 2001, p. 16-17

NHS finance in England may be controlled from 10-25 shared service centres if pilot schemes are successful. There is concern about the impact of these plans on existing staff.

PFI IN PERSPECTIVE

T. Harrison and S. Boyle

Public Finance, Mar. 9th-15th 2001, p. 24-26

Argues that the Private Finance Initiative in the NHS needs to be placed in a proper context by examining the investment decision on three levels: the national, local and the building itself. At the national level, the decisions involve how the government should divide health resources between investment and current consumption and what kind of investment is needed to deliver government health objectives. At the level of the local health economy, we need to ask what investment opportunities would be lost by putting large sums into the hospital sector. At the building level, every new hospital scheme needs to be examined for the evidence that it will provide a flexible service to meet future health needs, and not become out-dated too quickly through changes in medical technology healthcare demand or population profiles.