Public Finance, June 14th-20th 2002, p.18-21
The scope of private finance initiative schemes in the NHS is to be widened to include the provision of clinical services and equipment.
Financial Times, June 14th 2002, p.2
Pay expectations among health workers have rocketed in the wake of rises of up to 25 per cent offered to consultants in a new contract.
Health Service Journal, vol. 112, June 13th 2002, p.10-11
With the NHS litigation bill put at £4.4bn and rising, a chief medical officer's working group is preparing a White Paper on clinical negligence reform. The working group is proposing to introduce compensation payments of up to £10,000 into the NHS complaints system. Doctors say this will herald a return to defensive medicine and hamper modernisation. The Medical Defence Union suggests cutting costs by caring for brain-injured patients in enhanced NHS long term care and rehabilitation facilities instead of giving them six figure compensation payments.
Times, June 13th 2002, p.13
The new contract for NHS consultants offers a 20% pay rise, limits to hours of work, and the continued freedom to practice privately in their spare time. Any new consultant who wants to practice privately will simply be asked to perform two extra four hour sessions per week for the NHS paid pro rata. Only one extra session will be demanded from senior consultants with more than seven years experience. However, under the new contract, managers will be able to programme consultants time, and expect them to be on site and working to an agreed timetable.
(See also Financial Times, June 13th 2002, p.4; Daily Telegraph, June 13th 2002, p.2; Guardian, June 13th 2002, p.3; Independent, June 13th 2002, p.1)
The Times, June 24th 2002, p.1
The government is trying to cut NHS costs by changing negligence laws and ending massive lump-sum damages payouts to victims of hospital mistakes. As much as £4 billion is being set aside for outstanding negligence claims, almost 6 per cent of the £6 billion NHS budget. Ministers are looking to replace lump-sum payments with annual payments to cover victims' needs.
Independent, June 13th 2002, p.7
Reports that government has decided to centralise the computerisation of large scale NHS systems such as electronic patient records. Contracts are likely to be given to a small number of American IT companies linked to previous fiascos.
J Coast and others
Social Science and Medicine, vol. 54, 2002, p.1839-1852
Study explored the perceptions of citizens and healthcare practitioners on rationing. Both groups believed that healthcare in the UK was under-resourced due to technological advances, an ageing population and increasing public expectations. The citizen group believed that resources could be increased and rationing avoided through higher taxes and elimination of waste and inefficiency. The health professionals, however, viewed rationing as inevitable and focused on ways of organising it within the NHS. They did not believe that options to increase funding or reduce waste would be fruitful.
Financial Times, June 14th 2002, p.2
The Health Secretary, Alan Milburn, is bidding for more billions in next month's spending review to provide the NHS with electronic patient records, digital prescriptions, booked admission and other technological advances. This would involve above £5bn over the next five years, doubling the NHS's current spend on information and communications technology.
The Independent, 17th June 2002, p.5
Each call to NHS Direct, the 24-hour helpline, costs the taxpayer about 25 per cent more than a visit to the doctor. The average cost of each call was almost £18 last year - £4 more than the estimated cost of each visit to a GP. NHS Direct has faced criticism since it began four years ago on the grounds that experienced nurses have left hospital posts to work on the telephone helpline.
Primary Care Report, vol. 4 no.10, June 2002, p.14-15
Article explains how NHS reference costs are calculated. All trusts are required to publish and benchmark their costs on a consistent basis. Reference costs come in two parts. The Reference Cost Index is a league table comparing the overall activity costs of organisations. The Schedule of Reference Costs shows the average costs for different treatments and procedures based on health resource groups.