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Welfare Reform on the Web (June 2006): National Health Service - funding

Consultant contract ‘fails to benefit patients’

C. Hall

The Daily Telegraph, May 10th 2006, p.4

A report has been published claiming that the new hospital consultants’ contracts cost £90 million more than expected with little evidence of benefits to patients.

Deficits are symptoms of the marketisation of the NHS

C. Leys

Guardian, April 26th 2006, p.26

The NHS is being redesigned to fail based on an ideological rather than evidence-based trust in marketisation according to Leys who blames this for the current deficits. The article looks at financial issues such as renovations, PFI building, salaries, uncertainties of payment by results and patient choice, efficiency savings and shedding unprofitable services.

Direct payments will be good for your health (services)

J. Glasby

British Journal of Health Care Management, vol.12, 2006, p.152-153

Article discusses the feasibility of introducing direct payments or individual budgets into the NHS. Patients with an assessed need could be given cash to spend on treatments of their own choosing.

The finite and beyond

C. Donaldson and A. Bate

Health Service Journal, vol.116, May 11th 2006, p.20-21

NHS bodies created by reforms over the past 60 years have all had to grapple with the problem of not having enough resources to meet all the demands made on them. To enable managers and academics to learn from each other, the Economic and Social Research Council has funded a series of five seminars on managing scarcity in the NHS.

“No show’ hospital patients cost NHS £700m

G. Wilson

The Daily Telegraph, May 8th 2006, p.10

It could cost an individual hospital as much as £10 million a year in wasted staff time due to missed appointments. It is estimated that the total cost to the NHS is £680 million per year; £105 million a year more than last years figures. The cost was uncovered by Conservative MP Grant Shapps who says that the “figures are symptomatic of the mismanagement within the NHS”. A survey carried out by the Institute of Healthcare Management found that missed GP appointments cost £162 million a year. Hospitals are trying to tackle the problem by telling patients to confirm their appointments by phone to avoid cancellations and are intending to introduce electronic booking systems.

The refinancing of the Norfolk and Norwich PFI Hospital

Committee of Public Accounts

London: TSO, 2006 (House of Commons papers, session 2005/06; HC694)

The report deals with one of the first PFI hospital contracts. In 1998, the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital trust (the Trust) let its PFI contract to a private sector consortium Octagon. Octagon subsequently refinanced the contract in December 2003, two years after the new hospital opened. The consortium was able to secure improved financing terms because the construction phase of the project had been completed; the PFI market had become established; and commercial interest rates had fallen. Through refinancing the deal Octagon was able to accelerate the benefits which its investors would receive from the project. The report analyses the financial implications of the deal for the Trust and makes recommendations for future PFI contracts.

So near, yet so far: how the Government has undermined its own NHS reforms.

S. Richards

Independent, April 25th 2006, p.35

Argues that the current financial crisis in the NHS is due to higher than expected pay rises for GPs and consultants, without any corresponding increases in productivity.

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