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Welfare Reform on the Web (September 2003): National Health Service - Funding

ALLOCATIONS ADJUSTMENTS PROMISE A FINANCIAL HEADACHE

S. Brown

Primary Care Report, vol.5, July 23rd 2003, p.8-10

Discusses the implications of the introduction of a national tariff system for hospital treatment for primary care trusts. In future, charges that hospitals can make for episodes of care will be set nationally. PCTs whose current providers have higher than average costs and charge accordingly will find themselves paying less for the same services. Conversely, PCTs whose providers have lower than average costs will have to pay more. The government will adjust PCTs' funding allocations to take account of these changes, ensuring that their effective purchasing power will stay the same.

CREDIT WHERE DUE

M. Hellowell

Health Service Journal, vol.113, Aug.21st 2003, p.31

Discusses the effect of the emergence of NHS foundation trusts on the private finance initiative. The government is proposing to enter with the trust involved into a "deed of safeguard" covering any PFI contract. This gives lenders a degree of assurance that interest will repaid if the trust runs into financial problems. In spite of this, lenders' perceptions of credit risk may well increase and terms become less attractive.

A FAIRER PRESCRIPTION FOR NHS CHARGES

Social Market Foundation, 2003 (Health Commission report; 1)

Report argues that anyone who can pay prescription charges should do so. Children and people on low-incomes should be exempt, and there should be a £90.00 cap on what anyone would have to pay in a year to protect the chronically sick. However, it sees no reason for automatic exemption for pregnant women, nursing mothers or older people. Proposes defining four bands for medicines and attaching a nominal charge to each. Under this system medicines vital to life or for chronic conditions would be free or very cheap, while patients would have to pay the full cost of lifestyle treatments.

FEEL THE BURN

J. Davies

Health Service Journal, vol. 113, Aug. 21st 2003, p.10-11

Reports government plans to transfer responsibility for NHS pay negotiations at the national level from the Department of Health to a body representing employers themselves by 2004.

MEASURE FOR MEASURE

J. Appleby and A. Harrison

Health Service Journal, vol.113, Aug.28th 2003, p.16-17

Discusses problems involved in establishing whether the extra resources pumped into the NHS are being used effectively and whether performance is improving. Points out that there are gaps in available data, that information is often presented without interpretation, and that it can be difficult to judge its reliability.

PAYMENT BY RESULTS CONSULTATION: PREPARING FOR 2005

Department of Health

London: 2003

Payment by results is necessary to support a devolved health service with health care delivered by a range of providers. Commissioners (primary care trusts) will pay service providers (hospitals) for treatments on the basis of a system of national tariffs. The long term aim is to have a set of tariff prices which will apply irrespective of where a procedure is carried out.

PRIVATE CASUALTY SERVICE 'TO BEAT NHS QUEUES'

N.Hawkes

The Times, August 19th 2003 , p.2

The first purpose-built private casualty department in Britain is due to open its doors on October 1. For a flat fee of £29, patients at the Casualty Plus unit in Brentford, West London, will be able to see an accident and emergency specialist for immediate assessment. Any further treatment will cost more.

PROPOSED AMENDMENTS TO THE NATIONAL HEALTH SERVICE (CHARGES TO OVERSEAS VISITORS) REGULATIONS 1989: A CONSULTATION

Department of Health

London: 2003

The National Health Service is not intended to be available to non-UK residents free of charge. Hospitals have a right and duty to charge people who do not live in the UK for treatment. These powers are set out in the Regulations. Proposals in the consultation document are intended to close loopholes in the current Regulations.

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