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Welfare Reform on the Web (June 2004): National Health Service - Funding

BLOW FOR TORIES AS NURSES REJECT PLANS FOR NHS 'PATIENTS PASSPORT'

M. Frith

The Independent, May 12th 2004, p.5

A key objective of Conservative Party health policy for the next election has been comprehensively rejected by Britain's nurses. In a vote, more than 95 per cent of delegates at the Royal College of Nursing's annual conference opposed Tory proposals for a "patient passport" which would allow people to access private treatment on the NHS.

ENTREPRENEURIAL SPIRIT

A. Maynard

Health Service Journal, vol.114, May 27th 2004, p.16-17

The new GP contract offers financial incentives for doctors to increase activity and conformity with national quality standards. It creates an entrepreneurial environment in which service changes may occur. GPs may be replaced by cheaper nurses, and practices may be sold to commercial entities. Doctors may become salaried employees, and practices may merge with hospitals to provide integrated packages of care, as in the USA.

GPS PAID TO CUT HOSPITAL ADMISSIONS

C. Hall

The Daily Telegraph, May 18th 2004, p. 2

Family doctors could be paid up to £100 for every patient they keep out of hospital in a new incentive scheme that is causing concern among GP leaders. Doctors are worried that incentive payments will be seen as unethical and damage the trust patients have in their family doctor. The idea is to motivate family doctors to manage more efficiently the health of patients with chronic problems and so avoid emergency admissions.

HEALTH TO LEAD OVERHAUL OF KEY PUBLIC SECTOR TARGETS

S. Briscoe

The Financial Times, May 14th 2004, p.1

A revolution in the way public sector productivity is measured is expected in the summer to give consumers an unprecedented amount of information about how well public services are performing. The move comes amid growing concern in government that existing measures fail to reflect benefits from the sharp rise in public spending. In the case of health, the new standards could include one-year survival rates for patients after major operations or the numbers who quit smoking after participation in government-funded cessation programmes. Len Cook, the government's chief statistician, said that reports would be issued by the big Whitehall departments with new yardsticks designed to give a more accurate measure of whether the public was benefiting from the new spending.

(See also Financial Times, May 14th 2004, p, 3)

HEALTHY STEPS

M. Hellowell

Public Finance, Apr.30th-May 6th 2004, p.20

Presents an overview of the extent to which government has used the private sector to deliver health services. Initiatives include Independent Sector Treatment Centres and Local Improvement Finance Trusts as well as public-private partnerships.

MASSIVE INVESTMENT IN NHS FAILS TO REACH FRONT LINE, NURSES SAY

M. Frith

The Independent, May 10th 2004, p.1

Massive investment in the NHS is failing to trickle down to the front line, and much of the money is being spent on expensive agency staff and more mangers rather than extra beds and better treatments, a survey by the Royal College of Nursing shows.

PRIVATE SECTOR LOOSENS ITS GRIP ON NHS STAFFING

P. Smith and P. Dinsdale

Health Service Journal, vol.114, May 27th 2004, p.12-13

NHS trusts are saving money by reducing their use of private sector agency staff. Unexpectedly, primary care trusts are choosing to provide their own out-of-hours services rather than contracting them out to the private sector.

PUTTING A PRICE ON QUALITY

M. Stedman

Health Service Journal, vol.114, May 27th 2004, p.33

Analysis shows that higher-performing hospitals, mental health trusts and primary care trusts also have lower unit costs. They cost less than lower-rated organisations, delivering better value and performance simultaneously.

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