Health Service Journal, vol.115, Feb. 10th 2005, p.14-15
Presents an account of the developing financial crisis in Bradford Teaching Hospitals foundation trust, deteriorating relations with the regulator (Monitor) and how the trust chair came to be sacked.
Community Care, Feb.24th-Mar.2nd 2005, p.36-37
Community Care Minister Stephen Ladyman has proposed the development of a national approach to NHS funding of long-term care that would improve consistency of delivery and make the assessment process easier to understand. He aims to end the post code lottery in which people with similar needs can be denied NHS funding for their long-term care if they live in an unsympathetic Strategic Health Authority.
M.-L. Harding and D. Martin
Health Service Journal, vol.115, Feb.10th 2005, p.5
Government is to draw up a tough "code of conduct" for NHS bodies to prevent them indulging in sharp practice in the new era of payment by results. Likely scams include unnecessary emergency hospital admissions and unjustified withholding of payments by primary care trusts.
National Audit Office
London: TSO, 2005 (House of Commons papers, session 2004/05; HC209)
The first hospital to be built under the private finance initiative (PFI) has earned a return of up to 50% a year for its investors. Four companies which invested £13m in the Darent Valley Hospital in Kent in 1997 were able to realise £37m in 2003 under a refinancing deal, an annual rate of return of 25%. One company which invested £4.1m in the hospital in 1997 sold its stake for £16m in 2003, an annual rate of return of 50%.
The Guardian, Feb. 16th 2005, p.11
Reports that NHS chief executives' salaries and perks went up by 78% on average over ten years since 1994, while pay for nurses went up by 50%. The top paid chief executive of a London trust earned between £210,000 and £215,000 last financial year, about 35% more than he got the year before.
(See also Financial Times, Feb., 16th 2005, p.4)
Health Service Journal, vol.115, Feb.17th 2005, p.16-17
Government has now announced how the £135bn funding for primary care trusts for 2006-08 is to be split. The consensus among recipients is that the money will be enough to maintain existing services, but not enough to galvanise trusts into shifting emphasis to health improvement and disease prevention.
Health Service Ombudsman for England
London: TSO, 2004 (House of Commons papers, session 2004/05; HC144)
Reports that most NHS bodies have made considerable efforts to make restitution to patients for previous failures to fund continuing care. However, these do not go far enough, and the report recommends further work to improve the national framework for continuing care, including:
The Times, Feb. 10th 2005, p.29
Government has announced a significant boost in funding for primary care trusts. The extra money will be targeted at frontline services and health promotion. However, there is concern that much of the extra money will be consumed by staff pay rises and increased pension costs.
The Times, Feb. 14th 2005, p.4
Ravenscourt Park Hospital is an NHS run treatment centre for hip and knee operations in West London. However it is running into debt because of high running costs and lack of demand. It faces a deficit of £12m this financial year, with losses of £5m annually over the next five years.
Health Service Journal, vol.115, Feb.10th 2005, p.18-19
Report of an interview with Audit Commission chief executive Steve Brundred, in which he argues that NHS financial systems and the staff that run them are unfit for the harshly competitive environment ushered in by the new payment by results system and the creation of foundation trusts. There is an urgent need for more accurate costing, better financial forecasting and a better handle on income and its collection.
Financial Times, Feb. 14th 2005, p.6
Unison compared the pay of a range of female NHS workers employed by an acute trust such as nurses, catering assistants and telephonists with that of male workers such as maintenance workers and craftsmen. It then bought a case against the trust, claiming that the women's work was undervalued. The union is now claiming victory in the dispute and has won back pay for the women worth £300m.
(See also Daily Telegraph, Feb. 14th 2005, p.13)