Health Service Journal, vol.115, Jan. 6th 2005, p.5
There is evidence that hospitals have been admitting patients via Accident and Emergency in order to meet the government target that people should be seen-to within four hours of arrival. They can also invoice primary care trusts for the costs of this unnecessary inpatient treatment, even if the person is discharged in less than 12 hours.
(See also Health Service Journal, vol.115, Jan. 6th 2005, p.6)
Financial Times, Jan. 5th 2005, p.2
More National Health Service trusts are hitting financial trouble despite the extra billions being poured into the service. Figures to be released by the Audit Commission and the National Audit Office show that 107 NHS bodies - hospital trusts, primary care trusts and strategic health authorities - failed to break even last April.
Public Finance, Jan. 21st-27th 2005, p.30-32
Health services bodies are predicting a deficit of £500m in 2004/05, despite record levels of funding. This appears to be due to pay inflation arising from the new GP and consultants' contracts, and implementation of Agenda for Change. The new payment by results system has also triggered an upsurge in hospital activity.
Financial Times, Jan. 18th 2005, p.4
Scotland spends more on the National Health Service than the rest of the UK, but its health record remains abysmal, making the issue the greatest challenge involving Edinburgh's devolved administration. The country spends nearly £1,600 per person on healthcare each year and annual expenditure is set to soar through the £10bn barrier over the next three years, having already jumped from £6.4bn in 2000 to nearly £8bn. Many of Scotland's health problems relate to unhealthy lifestyles, which are not susceptible to quick fixes. There are also serious doubts about the ability of the Scottish Executive and the NHS to manage the high levels of investment effectively as they fail to meet waiting list targets.
Health Service Journal, vol.115, Jan. 6th 2005, p.14-15
Almost half of the 27 Strategic Health Authorities surveyed by the Health Service Journal do not expect to balance their books in financial year 2004/05. This appears to be because of rising staff salary costs due to the new GP and consultants' contracts and the roll out of Agenda for Change, pressure to spend to hit government targets, and accumulated financial deficits which are beginning to hamstring the system.