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Welfare Reform on the Web (May 2005): National Health Service - Funding

ARE THE NEW INCENTIVES FOR ELECTIVE SURGERY "BONKERS"?

S. Stevens

British Journal of Health Care Management, vol.11, 2005, p.87-88

The new incentive structure aimed at keeping waiting times for elective surgery low combines activity-based payments for hospitals (the national tariff) with fee-for-service (bonus) payments for surgeons, both linked to patient choice. At the same time new independent treatment centres will increase capacity and compete with hospitals for business. Transfer of services from secondary to primary care will also provide an alternative to hospital treatment.

AUDITORS SOUND ALARM BELLS IN SURREY AND SUSSEX CASH CRISIS

M.-L. Harding

Health Service Journal, vol.115, Apr.14th 2005, p.5

Auditors have warned the Department of Health that the Surrey and Sussex Healthcare trust will need substantial financial support from the government to stave off bankruptcy in 2005/06.

THE BLAIR REFORMS

A. Maynard

British Journal of Health Care Management, vol.11, 2005, p.81-82

On its election in 1997, the New Labour government relied on increased investment and centrally set targets to improve NHS performance. When this approach failed, it reverted to the Thatcherite strategy of introducing competition into the system.

FROM MILLIONS TO BILLIONS IN EIGHT YEARS

N. Timmins

Financial Times, April 19th 2005, p.4

The use of private providers in the National Health Service has changed almost beyond recognition since 1997. In 1997 contracts for hospitals to be built under private finance initiative were under negotiation, but none had been signed. All that has changed almost beyond recognition. The government has signed, or is about to sign, five-year contracts worth about £510 million a year with privately run treatment centres that will provide non-emergency surgery to 250,000 patients a year. The article considers the creation of a multi-billion pound market for private providers of healthcare to the NHS.

HOWARD PLEDGES TO SPEND MORE ON HEALTH THAN LABOUR

A. Grice

The Independent, April 21st 2005, 24

Spending on health would be higher under a Conservative government than a Labour one by the end of the next parliament. That became clear after Labour refused to match plans by the Tories to maintain big annual increases in the health budget for the next six years. The Tories' spending plans run to the 2011-12 financial year but Labour has declined to commit itself beyond 2007-08.

STATE SET TO OUTSOURCE NEARLY 20% OF SERVICES

N. Timmins and S. Davoudi

Financial Times, April 18th 2005, p.1, 2

Private and voluntary bodies could deliver £60bn worth of public services - close to a fifth of the total - by 2006/7, illustrating how far Labour is introducing a mixed economy into the sector. The estimates, by Kable the information technology analyst, represent almost 80 per cent growth over three years driven by the government's decision to buy an ever broader range of services from private suppliers. The big boundary that has been broken under Labour has been the greater use of the private sector in education and health. The NHS in England is set to buy some £3.8bn of health care from the private and voluntary sector, with average spending on the NHS IT programme of £600m a year once it is up and running.

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