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

Herts and minds: £100m hole that could defeat protesters

A. Moore

Health Service Journal, vol.116, July 6th 2006, p.14-15

In order to achieve financial balance acute trusts in Hertfordshire need to centralise services and close small district general hospitals. Their financial problems are being exacerbated by loss of routine elective surgery to new independent treatment centres. Current deficits are also putting in doubt the viability of schemes to build large new central hospitals using private finance and cash strapped primary care trusts are making slower than anticipated progress in launching new community services to replace the district general hospitals listed for closure.

London PCTs expect to spend a sixth of Choosing Health cash

H. Mooney

Health Service Journal, vol.116, July 27th 2006, p.5

Directors of Public Health in London’s 31 primary care trusts were asked about funding for initiatives to meet government targets set out in the White Paper Choosing Health. Twelve out of the 24 who responded said that their boards had decided not to spend any of their allocated funding on Choosing Health initiatives in 2006/07. Cuts in public health funding would impact most heavily on services aimed at tackling the sexual health crisis and the obesity epidemic.

Ministers ‘sacrificing careers of foreign nurses’ to solve NHS financial crisis

J. Laurance

The Independent, July 4th 2006, p.5

The government intends to ban foreign nurses from taking up positions in the two most junior nursing grades unless no local candidates can be found. The move is expected to lead to a sharp drop in the 12,000 foreign nurses recruited each year. The government has been accused of sacrificing the careers of overseas nurses to help solve the NHS’ funding crisis.

The Paddington Health Campus scheme

National Audit Office

London: TSO, 2006 (House of Commons papers, session 2005/06; HC1045)

The Paddington Health Campus scheme was a complex and ambitious attempt to build a world-class healthcare and research centre which ultimately proved to be beyond the capacity of the scheme partners to deliver. This report deals with the reasons for the cancellation of the scheme including: the sheer number and scale of risks and lack of a single sponsor; the way in which the Campus partners organised and carried through the scheme, including the failure to secure adequate land for the scheme; and the lack of active strategic support for the Campus vision. The report makes several recommendations for all NHS capital investment schemes including:

  • No capital investment scheme should proceed without the identification of a single sponsor.
  • No scheme should proceed without confirmation of assured funding for full development costs.
  • The Department of Health should ensure that formal timetables are drawn up.
  • The Department of Health should consider and performance manage capital investment schemes with a national dimension.

Specialist trusts lobby ministers for change in tariff

D. Martin

Health Service Journal, vol.116 July 6th 2006, p.5

England’s five specialist orthopaedic trusts say that they will be forced to cancel operations and cut services because the payment by results system does not currently reflect the costs of the work that they do. For example, a procedure to correct a developmental hip dislocation would cost £13,791 but would have to be coded under payment by results as a hip replacement which is charged at £4,967. The hospitals are calling for specialist services to be excluded from payment by results or for more tariff categories to be introduced.

The temps barrier

J. Davies

Health Service Journal, vol.116, July 20th 2006, p.24-26

Cutting agency staff has been identified as a key strategy for trusts looking to reduce financial deficits. North Bristol trust has demonstrated the potential for savings by cutting agency costs by £10 million over two years. North Bristol cut costs by insisting that nurse managers use a new in-house staff bank and work with other trusts through the NHS Purchasing and Supply Agency to agree a contract with a single private agency for shifts that cannot be filled in-house. A campaign to fill vacancies has also reduced demand for temporary staff. Article goes on to present other examples of how trusts are reducing demand for agency staff.

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