Thursday, November 22, 2007

NHS Surpluses Means Underspending On Patients Locally

UserWatch UK like others in the UK has had its suspicions confirmed today about large surpluses in the NHS - That is to say, the internally mad "profits" ( 1.8 billion) made from a lack of patient care in localities partly by new Labour's internally mad planning "Foundation prophets" who along with the Gov't just won't countenance taxing more or (more to the point in mental health particularly) de-bureaucratising the health service more. That might bring us line with a real caring society and more immediate delivery of care instead of a politically and socially contorted mangled Thatcherite hangover satisfying the internally right wing self interested "liberal" middle classes that NEW Labour now supports whole heartedly ..

At UserWatch in mental health we do see a place for the market but only on the basis that the patient drives this through State vouchers and allowances .. The quality driver of services in mental health as in other health zones beyond catastrophic crisis, must be the patient not the State, otherwise we get into this mismangularity of a political body tying itself up in social and financial knots and YES, without rope ......

Yes its all brilliant politics (not really) to balance out middle class income ( & income tax) interests in the UK and keep comfortable administrator class lives comfortable .. But we hear the skill of New labour contortions is making dancing yogic spaghetti gangs completely envious .....

Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health Trust made 2 million surplus this year we estimate. That is a lot of care MISSING..... Particularly if we kept it de-bureacratised and under REAL local control as opposed to over-merged corporate city-wide glossified performance-vision .

Local control is NOT happening - its another yogic contortion of social and political imagery ... Its called The Full Financial Bloatus with surprised little questionmarks hanging around it .... Don't worry we will see if an artist can rise to this amazing, acrazing, reality and capture it .....

NHS in surplus by £1.8bn

The NHS is set to underspend by £1.8bn or 2% of its budget for the current financial year, the Health Service Journal has calculated.

The figure is more than three times larger than the £510 million surplus in the last financial year, and in contrast to the deficit of £547 million in 2005-6.

The Department of Health said it would be retained by the NHS and spent on further improving services and patient care but the size of the underspend may embolden nurses calling for an above inflation pay rise.

The Health Service Journal reported that the surplus is made up of money "top sliced" by strategic health authorities (SHAs) from the budgets of primary care trusts.

The NHS deficits were politically embarrassing for the government and the then home secretary Patricia Hewitt said she would resign if the NHS wasn't in surplus by April of this year.

However the surplus shown by today's figures may be just as damaging. King's Fund chief economist John Appleby told the HSJ: "An underspend by that amount will be seen as just as bad as an overspend.

"Parliament does not approve of large NHS underspends as it commits those resources for health spending, not to just sit there."

Health minister Ben Bradshaw welcomed the underspend, saying "it is excellent news that the NHS continues to be in healthy surplus.

"This means more flexibility for health services and better care for patients. It will also make it easier for local health services to plan for the long term."

A department of health spokesperson added: "We set out in the summer projections that showed the NHS would deliver a surplus this year due to better financial rigour and transparency in the system.

"As a proportion of the NHS budget such a surplus would account for a relatively small amount and represents good financial planning.

"The NHS is getting more efficient generating a surplus while improving performance. It is much better to be in surplus than in deficit and gives individual trusts the flexibility to be able to accelerate their work in important areas such as 18 weeks and tackling healthcare associated infections, plan more effectively and deliver services to patients on a sustainable footing."

Hospital Doctor magazine also reports today that millions of pounds have been cut from NHS training budgets in the last two years.

It said SHAs took almost £360 million from last year's training budgets, more than double the amount the year before.

The figures, released by the department of health, showed that £357.5 million was taken from NHS education and training budgets for 2006-7, up from £150 million in 2005-6, the magazine reported.

The figures showed that London SHA took the most, diverting nearly £75 million of the multi-professional education and training levy allocated by the department of health last year.

The HSJ also reported that NHS trusts earned £98 million from car parking charges in 2005-6.

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