Archives for August 1st, 2002

BETTER HEALTHCARE FOR ALL – REPLACING THE NHS MONOPOLY

Book News, PublicNet: 1 August, 2002

By Norman Blackwell and Daniel KrugerThree star hospitals can now apply to become free of NHS controls, but the authors argue that this does not go far enough. While the Government retains its monopoly of both funding and purchasing, these nominally independent hospitals will still only have one customer: the state. All the money in the system will still flow downwards, and all accountability will still flow upwards: to Whitehall. The authors argue that only by giving control of spending to patients, and control of delivery to professionals will we have the level of healthcare which we all want. And their proposals are designed to address an inherent failing of the NHS: that it is the poor and marginalised who receive the worst treatment, while the better-off manipulate the system to their advantage or, if they are lucky, opt out of it altogether. Hitherto the debate on NHS reform has been polarised between two extremes: the retention of the state monopoly of funding, and the introduction of private finance through charging, employment-based social insurance and/or private insurance. This proposal offers a third option: to leave British healthcare overwhelmingly financed through general taxation but to give patients and professionals the responsibility for spending that money.

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NEXT STEPS TO DIRECTLY ELECTED REGIONAL ASSEMBLIES

Headlines, PublicNet: 1 August, 2002

The Government has spelled out the consultation process for introducing directly elected regional assemblies for the regions of England.Offered in the White Paper ‘Your Region; Your Choice – Revitalising the English Regions’, the Government now says that whether to introduce such a tier of Government will be heavily influenced by the people of those regions.

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RED TAPE CUT FOR FRONTLINE HOSPITAL STAFF

Headlines, PublicNet: 1 August, 2002

A panel of nurses, doctors and other frontline NHS workers have helped civil servants identify 40 areas of unnecessary bureaucracy.The Cabinet Office Regulatory Impact Unit (RIU), working with the Department of Heath, have consulted with nearly 250 health service professionals before producing ‘Making a Difference: Reducing Burdens in Hospitals’.

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