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Welfare Reform on the Web (March 2002): National Health Service - Funding

100,000 PATIENTS 'PAY CASH TO BEAT NHS WAIT'

C. Hall and R. Eden

Daily Telegraph, Jan 15th 2002, p.1

A survey of 400 family doctors by the internet research company Medix says it has become more common for people without health insurance to use private doctors. The survey, sponsored by the Adam Smith Institute, found at least 100,000 people paid out of their own pockets for private treatment.

(See also The Times, Jan 15th 2002, p.4)

BROWN HINTS AT RISE IN NATIONAL INSURANCE BILLS

A. Grice

Independent, Dec. 12th 2001, p.8

Gordon Brown has hinted that he may raise the national insurance contributions of higher earning employees to finance government plans to increase spending on the NHS.

GORDON'S GREAT BALL OF CONFUSION

S. Ward

Public Finance, Dec. 7th -13th 2001, p.11

Reports considerable confusion about how the extra funding for the NHS announced in the Chancellor's Pre-Budget Report is to be allocated. This arises from an on-going power struggle over control of the NHS between the Chancellor, the Health Secretary and the Prime Minister.

HEALTH VOUCHERS ARE 'KEY TO LOWER TAXES'

A. Sparrow

The Daily Telegraph, Jan 21st 2002, p.8

A voucher system for health and education could cut government spending by a third and provoke tax cuts, a right-wing think tank argues. In a pamphlet, "Towards a Low-Tax Welfare State", the economist Prof Tim Congdon argues that if people were issued with vouchers, competition would improve the quality of services.

MILBURN UNVEILS COMMERICAL NHS PROJECTS

P. Waugh

Independent, Jan. 10th 2002, p.8

In evidence to the Health Select Committee, Alan Milburn has announced public - private partnerships to provide NHS pathology services and to rebuild GP surgeries. He also confirmed that he was considering introducing charges for personal televisions and telephones in hospital. He rejected claims from MPs that he was intent on privatising the health service, arguing that he wanted only to use private sector expertise.

(See also Guardian, Jan. 10th 2002, p.7)

NHS CHIEF REBUKED OVER CALL FOR CUTS

J. Carvel

Guardian, Jan. 23rd 2002, p.9

The Health Secretary has reprimanded the NHS Regional Director for South-East England for demanding £60m of spending cuts from hospitals by the end of financial year 2001/02. The Health Secretary disowned the move and said that impending overspends by the South East and South West Regions would be covered by virements from other parts of the NHS.

(See also Independent, Jan. 23rd 2002, p.8)

NINETEENTH REPORT ON NURSING STAFF, MIDWIVES AND HEALTH VISITORS 2002

Review Body for Nursing Staff, Midwives, Health Visitors and Professions Allied to Medicine

London: TSO, 2001 (Cm 5345)

Concludes that the evidence points to a need to improve the competitive position of the NHS in the labour market. Therefore recommends and a 3.6% pay rise for nursing staff in 2002-03.

NINETEENTH REPORT ON PROFESSIONS ALLIED TO MEDICINE, 2002

Review Body for Nursing Staff, Midwives, Health Visitors and Professions Allied to Medicine.

London: TSO, 2001 (Cm 5346)

Concludes that the evidence points to a need to improve the competitive position of the NHS in the labour market. Therefore recommends a 3.6% pay rise for PAM staff in 2002-03.

PATIENTS IN US GET BETTER CARE FOR SAME CASH

N. Timmins

Financial Times, Jan. 18th 2002, p.2

Some patients in the US are getting better health care than NHS patients, but for roughly the same cost, according to a study published in today's British Medical Journal. Researchers compared the NHS with a non-profit health body in California. The authors say the study challenges claims that the NHS's inadequacies are mainly due to underinvestment.

(See also the Independent, Jan 18th 2002, p.10; Daily Telegraph, Jan 18th 2002, p.4; The Times, Jan 18th 2002, p.8)

PROBE INTO OVER-CHARGING BY PRIVATE DENTISTS MAY FORCE SWEEPING CHANGES

D. Roberts and N. Timmins

Financial Times, Jan 21st 2002, p.1

Private dentists are expected to face an investigation into over-charging and lack of transparency that could force sweeping changes. This follows complaints to the Office of Fair Trading about private dentistry which have grown as may surgeries have stopped taking new National Health Service Patients.

(See also Financial Times, 21st Jan 2002, p.3; The Guardian, 22nd January 2002, p.6)

TAPPING INTO PUBLIC OPPOSITION TO PFI

Avon

Labour Research, vol.91 Jan. 2002, p.20-21

Discusses how a new duty on councils under the Local Government Act 2000 to ensure the well being of residents could help people campaigning against private finance initiatives, particularly in healthcare. The legislation could be used to pressure local authorities into holding referendums on such proposals.

THANKS FOR NOTHING

L. Whitfield

Health Service Journal, vol.111, Dec. 20th 2001, p.16

Predicts that financial year 2002/03 will be challenging for the NHS in spite of increased government funding. This will be channelled into pay rises, national clinical priorities such as cancer and coronary disease care, coping with inflation and covering the costs of the planned massive service restructuring.

THIRTY-FIRST REPORT [OF THE] REVIEW BODY ON DOCTORS' AND DENTISTS' REMUNERATION

London: TSO, 2001 (Cm 5340)

Report puts forward recommendations on the level of remuneration considered appropriate for doctors and dentists in the NHS as at April 2002. Main recommendations are:

  • an increase of 3.6% for doctors and dentists in the hospital and community health service;
  • an increase of 4.6% in the level of intended average net remuneration for GPs; and
  • and an increase of 3.6% in the gross fees for 2002-03 for general dental practitioners

TORY LEADER DROPS HINTS ON PAYING TO SEE DOCTOR

C. Newman

Financial Times, Dec. 17th 2001, p.2

Iain Duncan Smith, the Conservative Party leader, has indicated that he is considering proposing charging people to see their GP as part of a package of NHS reforms. Labour have seized on this hint to claim that the Conservatives no longer believe that the NHS should be free at the point of use.

(See also Daily Telegraph, Dec. 17th 2001, p.1; Guardian, Dec. 17th 2001, p.9)

WHAT'S THE BEST WAY TO PAY FOR BETTER HEALTH TREATMENT?

R. Sylvester

Daily Telegraph, Jan. 16th 2002, p. 18-19

Describes how health care is funded in Western European countries. Most countries have a mixture of social and private insurance and user charges. Goes on to present case studies of how families in Britain, France and Spain experience their respective healthcare systems.

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