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

INQUIRY AS NHS PATIENT RECORDS GO ONLINE

B. Brogan

The Daily Telegraph, August 31st 2004, p.1

The Government's £6.2 billion programme to give the NHS a new computer system is to be investigated by the National Audit Office. The National Programme for IT is intended to give 55 million patients in England an electronic record that can be consulted at the touch of a screen by doctors anywhere in the health service. However, a survey of doctors earlier this month showed that two thirds feared patient confidentiality would be breached and the public spending watchdog has now stepped in after soaring costs on billion-pound contracts.

IS THEIR NUMBER UP?

N. Plumridge

Health Service Journal, vol.114, Aug.5th 2004, p.24

Discusses the changing role of the finance director in NHS bodies. Argues that primary care trusts have limited autonomy and do not need full-time finance directors. In the new mixed economy of healthcare, finance directors are more likely to need commercial experience.

OBSTACLES TO BEST VALUE IN NHS PFI PROJECTS: EVIDENCE FROM TWO HOSPITALS

D. Asenova and others

Journal of Finance and Management in Public Services, vol.4, 2004, p.33-49

In recent years PFI procurement in the NHS has been subject to serious criticism on the grounds that Trusts often encounter problems in achieving value for money. Paper investigates these issues in the light of interviews with PFI project participants in two NHS hospitals. Focusing on obstacles to achieving Best Value in these two hospitals, article argues that many of the problems with PFI-based procurement are attributable to lack of expertise in risk management in the public sector, rather than market conditions which reduce competitive pressure on bidders.

TARIFF VARIATIONS: DR REID'S REPLY TO OUR QUESTION

A. Cowper

British Journal of Health Care Management, vol.10, 2004, p.234-235

At the NHS Confederation Conference of 2004, the BJHCM representative asked the Health Secretary if regional variations in the costs of delivering health care would lead to differential pricing, which could have an adverse impact on patient choice. The Health Secretary replied that the government would introduce a system of compensating providers for their unavoidable cost differences and at the same time ensure that each primary care trust faced the same price for the service, irrespective of provider. Article considers some of the implications of this reply.

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