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Spending Review- how the National Health Service (NHS) is effected

The National Health Service (NHS) is the only major area of Whitehall spending in which there will be a rise in real terms. Spending Review- how the National Health Service (NHS) is effectedHowever, an increase of just 0.1 per cent a year will be dwarfed by the rise in the cost of drugs, an ageing population, the cost of reorganisations and inflation.

The cuts:
Technically the NHS has been given an increase in funding but this is less than half a per cent over four years.

£1bn will be diverted from the NHS to social care to help cut emergency readmissions to hospitals.

Psychological therapies will be boosted for those with mental health problems.

A new cancer drug fund for medicines that have been turned down by Nice worth up to £200m a year.

Three new hospitals were given the go ahead including Epsom and St Helier, West Cumberland and the Royal Oldham.

However the extension of free prescriptions to people with long-term conditions will be stalled.

One to one nursing care for cancer patients and a pledge under the previous government to have cancer tests conducted within one week will also be postponed.

The number of quangos will be cut from 18 to 10 by 2014 and the administration costs will be reduced by a third.

Radiographers will examine some x-rays as well as take them in order to save £7.9m of consultant radiologists’ time.

What it means:

Although an increase in funding sounds generous compared to the other departments it is nowhere near enough to keep pace with inflation in the NHS or the increase in demand for healthcare as the population ages and new treatments are developed.

The NHS has already been planning to make £20bn worth of savings over the next four years and it is not yet clear if this will have to be increased in light of the CSR settlement.

The Chancellor said the NHS spent £102bn this year but this is £5bn lower than what was planned for in the 2007 spending round, raising the question of where that money has gone.

Thousands of jobs in the NHS are already earmarked for cuts as primary care trusts and strategic health authorities are to be abolished as part of the coalition’s reforms and it is feared that some hospitals may seek to cut frontline jobs as well.

Experts have warned that plans to give GPs greater control over the NHS budget and the reorganisation this will take will cost between £2bn and £3bn.

What is the department’s budget?

£109.4bn

How well does the department perform?

Waiting times for patients needing treatment in hospital reduced dramatically under Labour, following the introduction of many targets. But with them came an expanding bureaucracy. The number of managers rose by 84 per cent in a decade, while nurse numbers grew by just 24 per cent.

Recent scandals such as that at Stafford Hospital, where patients suffered appalling and basic failings, illustrated the dangers of prioritising finances and targets over care.

Britain’s record in funding drugs for many serious diseases – especially cancer – compares poorly with the rest of Europe, and survival rates are worse than in other countries.

While growth in spending on the NHS in the past decade was at a record level, most of the money went on pay. GP pay rose by nearly 50 per cent in a decade, to an average of £106,000.

Had any savings already been identified?

The Government says more than £1 billion will be saved by halving the size of NHS bureaucracy in four years. 150 primary care trusts and 10 health authorities will be scrapped. However, redundancy payouts to get rid of so many managers will be expensive. Quangos such as the Health Protection Agency will be culled. Funding for a £75 million public campaign against obesity and drinking is to be stopped, with food and drinks companies asked to foot the bill.

From: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/Spending-Review-What-it-means-for-the-National-Health-Service-NHS-Department-of-Health

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