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

THE BUDGET

Health Service Journal, vol.112, Apr.25th 2002, Supplement. 71p.

Outlines the Chancellor's investment programme for the NHS with comment from experts from social care, primary care, local government and the King's Fund.

CHALLENGES IN COSTING HEALTH CARE SERVICES: RECENT EVIDENCE FROM THE UK

D. Northcott and S. Llewellyn

International Journal of Public Sector Management, vol.15, 2002, p.188-203.

Drawing on questionnaire results, this paper explores the challenges of standardising health care cost information as seen by these closest to the costing exercise. It identifies the problems in costing practice and discusses the barriers these present to the effective use of comparative cost data for the management of English hospitals.

DON'T FENCE ME IN: PCTs WANT NSF FUNDING FLEXIBILITY

M. Downall

Primary Care Report, vol.4, no.8, May 2002, p.20-22.

In the proposed new GP contract, family practitioners will be offered financial incentives to meet the targets set out in various national service frameworks (NSFs). Primary Care Trusts want more flexibility.

THE FALLACY OF SAYING "YES" TO MORE NHS TAX

J. Daley

Daily Telegraph, Apr. 24th 2002, p.23

Opinion polls show that the public has no confidence that higher state spending will improve the NHS. At the same time most people say they are willing to pay more taxes to fund increased spending on the NHS. Author discusses the reasons for this contradiction.

FEEDING AN INSATIABLE BEAST

S. Ainsworth

Health Service Journal, vol. 112, May 9th 2002, p. 18

Demand for healthcare is unlimited. By increasing public funding of the NHS, the Chancellor is simply allowing more to be spent on bureaucracy, clinically dubious or ineffective initiatives, and artificially extending the lives of the elderly and the terminally ill.

FLEXIBLE FRIENDS

J. Sussex and M. Goddard

Health Service Journal, vol.112, May 23rd 2002, p. 28-29

A survey of acute trusts and health authorities suggests that expenditure in the private sector has more than doubled since the signature of the concordat in October 2000. However it still represents less than 1% of total acute spending. Most of the spending was for orthopaedic surgery performed under short term, cost-per-case deals. The need for increased capacity was the main reason for using the independent sector. More than three quarters of respondents cited prices in the independent sector as a barrier to greater collaboration. This is little evidence of NHS organisations and those in the private sector forming partnerships for long term service planning.

HERE'S THE CATCH

S. Ward

Health Service Journal, vol.112, May 16th 2002, p.24-26

Describes the work of the Counter Fraud Service in combating fraud in the NHS.

HEALTH SECRETARY WARNS NURSES ON PAY: YOU MUST DO SOMETHING EXTRA TO EARN IT

R. Bennett

Financial Times, Apr. 25th 2002, p.25

Nurses' leaders have called for a substantial pay rise to ease staff shortages. However, the Health Secretary has told the Royal College of Nursing conference at Harrogate that higher salaries will be linked to increased productivity and acceptance of more responsibilities.

(See also Daily Telegraph, Apr. 25th 2002, p.11; Independent, Apr. 25th 2002, p.4; Times, Apr. 25th 2002, p. 10)

HOSPITALS BUILT WITH PRIVATE CASH 'COST MORE'

L. Duckworth

The Independent, May 17th 2002, p.8

The cost of building hospitals with private finance can be almost double that of a publicly funded scheme, a study in today's British Medical Journal found. NHS trusts incur much higher costs through a PFI scheme as they pay an annual fee to cover the cost of capital borrowed, maintenance and clinical services.

LIVING ON BORROWED IDEAS

T. Shifrin

Health Service Journal, vol.112, May 2nd 2002, p.11

Discusses similarities between government plans to "move resources with patients" in the NHS and the Thatcherite internal market. The proposals will not only introduce competition between NHS hospitals but also throw the market open to private providers. Instead of block contracts for elective surgery, providers will earn extra resources on a "cost-per-case" basis, and lose money on the same basis for "failure to deliver".

NHS (ENGLAND) SUMMARISED ACCOUNTS 2000-01

National Audit Office

London: TSO, 2002 (House of Commons papers, Session 2001/02; HC 766)

In presenting the NHS audited accounts for 2000/01, the National Audit Office points out that the likely cost of clinical negligence claims rose by £500m. Claims increased to 4,115 against 2,411 the previous year.

NHS BANK SET TO GIVE MANAGERS AUTONOMY

D. Charter

Times, May 15th 2002, p.6

Reports the launch of the NHS Investment Bank which will be owned and controlled by the NHS itself as a mutual organisation. The Bank will be run initially by a shadow board with private sector financial advisers. It will be encouraged to raise money from private sector sources to invest in NHS facilities.

NHS STAFF GET UP TO 6.5 PC RISE

J. Steele and G. Jones

Daily Telegraph, May 10th 2002, p.2

The increased investment allocated to the NHS in the 2002 Budget is already disappearing into the pockets of the workforce. Unison has agreed pay rises of up to 6.5% for clerical, ancillary and ambulance staff throughout Britain.

(See also Guardian, May 10th 2002, p.1)

PCTs MUST CONSIDER EYE CARE COSTS WHEN SETTING BUDGETS

M. Priest

Primary Care Report, vol.4, no. 8, May 2002, p.36-38

Primary Care Trusts have assumed responsibility for the funding of community based ophthalmic services. Article discusses the likely costs of these for which an average PCT would have to budget,

WHY THE BUDGET IS ONLY THE TIP OF THE ICEBERG

S. Brown

Primary Care Report, vol. 4. No.8, May 2002, p.10-11

Under the new NHS financing regime, the current block contracts, under which hospitals get a pre-agreed amount of funds regardless of the number of patients treated, will be replaced by a system of payment by results. Hospitals will be paid for the actual work they undertake. Under the proposed new system, all hospital activity would be commissioned against a standard tariff. This would be based on health care resource groups which are already costed as part of the national reference costs initiative.

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