Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

There's No Blank Cheque for the NHS

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

There's No Blank Cheque for the NHS

Article excerpt

One must admire the confidence of those local health professionals who are prepared to predict that tight new targets for emergency admissions to hospitals will be met.

The soothsaying is necessary because Department of Health officials have stated that they do not expect emergency admissions to rise by more than 3% beyond a threshold which they've set at 2004/05 levels.

And the Whitehall mandarins have warned that if the target is exceeded, the department will pay just half the going rate for each of the extra admissions.

That's certain to concentrate the minds of health trust bosses and hospital administrators, who sometimes find it impossible to keep expenditure within budget at present.

Doctors and nurses, meanwhile, will be fearful of cuts having to be made in other areas should the target prove impossible to meet.

The general public may be concerned too, over the level of service they can expect to receive, in particular, and the way health services are funded in general. …

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