Magazine article Public Finance

Employers Call for Cap on NHS Pay Increases as Costs Begin to Mount

Magazine article Public Finance

Employers Call for Cap on NHS Pay Increases as Costs Begin to Mount

Article excerpt

The health service can afford pay rises of no more than 2.5% next year, NHS Employers said this week as concern grew over NHS organisations' ability to balance their books.

The fears were compounded by two legal challenges that could have profound effects on NHS spending decisions and organisations' financial stability.

Barbara Clark threatened to take Somerset Coast Primary Care Trust to court to obtain the anticancer drug Herceptin on the NHS. The PCT agreed to her request for the drug on exceptional grounds, but following her victory Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt said all women with early-stage breast cancer would get the drug if it could help them. This would cost around £100m a year.

Yvonne Watts went to the European Court of Justice to argue that the health service should pay the £3,800 cost of a hip replacement she had in France in 2003.

The court's decision is not due for six months, but it is feared a victory for Watts could lead to more patients bypassing waiting lists by going abroad. …

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