Magazine article Public Finance

Waiting List Pilot Works Best 'When List Is Low'

Magazine article Public Finance

Waiting List Pilot Works Best 'When List Is Low'

Article excerpt

A pioneering scheme that aims to cut high waiting lists works best when waiting times are low, according to a report this week.

The Fee For Service (FFS) initiative was launched last October in an attempt to cut high waiting times in key disciplines such as orthopaedics.

Doctors and other clinical staff were paid a fee for working overtime and the Department of Health expected the pilot trusts to deliver 8,000 additional operations and 6,000 outpatient consultations by the end of March.

The report, which was commissioned by the department, said the pilots were more successful in attracting consultants when local waiting lists were low.

As fewer patients opted for private care, doctors' private earnings dropped and they sought to augment their pay through additional NHS activity.

'This has important ramifications in terms of the development and timing of any future FFS initiatives,' it said.

Though the review found that the department s targets could be exceeded, the pilots were only a qualified success because some trusts contributed more to the overall total than others.

It said 15 pilots had met, would meet or exceed their targets but 12 would only partially meet them. …

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