Headlines: November 27th, 2000

The government has a new weapon to drive efficiency in the NHS in the shape of National Reference Costs 2000 for each NHS Trust in England.These show latest information on the variation in costs of treatment in different NHS Trusts.

The Government says it will use reference costs as part of its moves to give greater autonomy to NHS Trusts who put funding to best use.

The new report provides information on the cost of several hundred different hospital operations such as hip replacements, as well as a range of other treatments provided by most NHS hospitals and community health services in England. This is the third year they have been published and NHS services around the country are using them to improve cost-effectiveness and see more patients.

For example, Southend Hospital noticed last year that its costs for ear, nose and throat treatment were abnormally high. By investing 50,000 pounds in a new laser treatment system which means patients don’t have to stay overnight in hospital, they can reduce the cost of each operation, treat more patients and reduce waiting times.

Link www.doh.gov.uk/nhsexec/refcosts.htm