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

ARRANGEMENTS FOR THE FUTURE SUPPLY AND REIMBURSEMENT OF GENERIC MEDICINES FOR THE NHS: CONSULTATION DOCUMENT

Department of Health

London: 2003

This consultation document seeks views on key proposals regarding the supply of generic medicines to the NHS in primary care in England. Proposals include:

  • allowing manufacturers to alter the price of a generic medicine without prior discussion with the Department of Health unless the drug is made by a limited number of companies;
  • allowing manufacturers discretion in pricing new generic drugs, provided they charge less than the branded product;
  • requiring manufacturers and wholesalers to submit quarterly information for generic medicines income revenues, cost of purchases and volumes of transactions.

BID TO FREE NHS FROM POLITICIANS

D. Chater and O. Wright

The Times, October 6th 2003, p.1

Power over NHS spending should be handed to an independent board of experts in the same way that the Bank of England was set free, according to the Tory Party Conference at Blackpool.

HEALTH COSTS: THE ROUGH GUIDE

A. Harrison and J. Appleby

Public Finance, Oct. 10th-16th 2003, p.28-30

NHS hospitals in England are moving to a system whereby they will be paid for each "activity" they carry out on the basis of a fixed national tariff, not on the basis of the actual costs they incur. This system will facilitate patient choice and will provide incentives for hospitals to control their costs. Article investigates how similar schemes work in other countries, and draws lessons for the NHS.

HOSPITAL TRUST'S £44M LOSS THE WORST IN NHS HISTORY

O. Wright

The Times, October 28th 2003, p.4

A single hospital trust was responsible for the worst financial crisis in the history of the health service, the Department of Health's Director of Finance has admitted. Richard Douglas told MPs investigating the financial meltdown of North Bristol NHS Trust that no one had spotted the crisis until the trust had amassed losses totalling £44 million.

INQUIRY INTO NHS 'SUBSIDY' FOR PRIVATE PATIENTS

J. Carvel

The Guardian, October 27th 2003, p.1

Parliament's spending watchdog is investigating allegations that NHS hospitals are wasting millions of pounds subsidising the treatment of private patients. The newspaper has learned that the National Audit Office has asked all NHS staff with private beds to provide information to show how far they are sticking to rigorous accounting rules designed to prevent the health service losing money treating private patients.

NOTHING IN THE BANK FOR ENHANCED SERVICES

S. Brown

Primary Care Report, vol.5, no.16, Oct.8th 2003, p.9-11

There is frustration amongst GPs at the lack of money available in Primary Care Trusts' (PCTs) budgets this financial year to pay them for developing enhanced services, as promised in their new contract. GPs only accepted the new contract in June 2003, and many PCTs did not put money aside to fund these services when planning their spending for 2003/04 in 2002/03.

PHARMACEUTICAL PRICE REGULATION SCHEME: DISCUSSION PAPER

Department of Health

London: 2003

The government is reviewing the current pharmaceutical price regulation scheme which controls the prices of branded prescription medicines to the NHS by regulating profits which companies can make on these sales. The paper seeks views on a range of options including rolling forward the present scheme unchanged and outright deregulation.

SOUND AS A POUND

N. Plumridge

Health Service Journal, Vol. 113, October 16th 2003, p.3

The article argues that the financial impacts and benefits of NHS modernisation initiatives should be measured and become a standard performance indicator.

VARIATION IN UNIT COSTS OF HOSPITALS IN THE ENGLISH NATIONAL HEALTH SERVICE

R. Jacobs and D. Dawson

Journal of Health Services Research & Policy, Vol. 8, 2003, p.202-208

The study examined attempts within the NHS to reduce variations in unit costs, focusing particularly on whether the use of efficiency targets is effective in achieving this goal. 235 acute trusts were observed over a six-year period. Little cost reduction was perceived, despite rising activity. Although the Department of Health considers variations to reflect inefficiency, the findings of the study do not support this and the report concludes that reduction should not be a major policy objective.

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