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Archive for January, 2009

NICEly does it- Financial Times comment

“Probably not. But it’s worth a bloody good try.” That was the response of Frank Dobson, then health secretary in Britain’s Labour government, to a question in 1999 about whether the new National Institute for Curbing Expenditure (NICE) would work. Nice is the public body that recommends which treatments the National Health Service can dole […]

EU Cuts to trainee surgeons’ hours threaten patient safety: Royal College of Surgeons

Trainee surgeons are under pressure to falsify their working hours and are operating on days off as hospitals struggle to comply with cuts to working hours, the Royal College of Surgeons has said. Junior doctors should be allowed to opt out of the European Working Time Directive that limits them to a 48-hour working week […]

Labour has broken mixed sex wards promise admits Health Secretary Alan Johnson

Labour has failed to end mixed sex NHS hospital wards despite promising to do so for 12 years, the Health Secretary Alan Johnson has admitted. Mr Johnson told a meeting of senior NHS executives that ministers had “got it wrong” and “sane and rational arguments about why it can’t be done no longer cut it”, […]

NHS drug shortage looms as Pound plummets

The NHS could face a shortage of drugs because the weak Pound means speculators are targeting UK pharmaceutical supplies for export to more lucrative markets. Data obtained by HSJ shows there has also been a dramatic slowdown in imports of cut-price branded drugs into the UK. When the Pound was strong, so-called “parallel traders” could […]

Your health records- open to all in new labour data disaster

NO2ID and Health Direct has been warning since 2006/7 about the stated intentions of the labour government “to overcome current barriers to information sharing within the public sector”. Now the Ministry of Justice has launched an extraordinary coup. It is about to convert the Data Protection Act into its exact opposite, a means for any […]

NHS patients to get cash to buy care

Patients with long term medical conditions are to be given cash to buy their care. The move could encourage more private and not-for-profit providers to enter the market for treatment currently given by the NHS. The cash option is one of a range of “personal health budgets” to be piloted. The health department estimates that […]

NHS constitution is no defence against commercialisation

Responding to the signing of the new labour NHS constitution, Health Direct and the NHS Support Federation is warning that it is too weak to protect the core ideas behind the NHS against the impact of commercialisation. Labour “Government lawyers have been working long and hard to ensure that the NHS constitution which was launched […]

Credit crunch slows number of PFI deals

Fewer deals were signed under the private finance initiative (pfi) last year than at any point since the PFI took off a decade ago, according to an authoritative database. The credit crunch contributed heavily to just 34 PFI deals being signed last year, after at least 60 deals were signed every year over the past […]

NHS to widen drugs range in NICE U Turn

A wider range of costly “end of life” treatments for terminal illness is to be made available on the NHS, the body that recommends which treatments the service should adopt has confirmed. Sir Michael Rawlins, chairman of the National Institute for Curbing Expenditure (NICE), said it would issue new guidance to its advisory committees which […]

NHS managers’ skill levels criticised by MPs

The National Health Service lacks the leadership and commissioning skills to implement the labour government’s plans for high quality care in the NHS, a cross party committee of MPs warned. Despite a programme called “world-class commissioning” aimed at boosting the ability of primary care trusts to buy care for their patients, “there are few signs […]