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NHS news in brief

Our weekly round of NHS and healthcare stories

 
Actavis makes move for Pliva
Novartis to challenge AstraZeneca
Six in hospital after clinical trial disaster
 
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Delayed NHS payment
In a bid to balance the books towards the end of the financial year, the NHS will reportedly hold back millions of pounds owed to suppliers, some of which may be awaiting six figure sums. Cutting debt and balancing delicate overspends are priority activities for the health service following several months of instability and criticism over spending trends. Even though small-to-medium-sized enterprises may be severely compromised by the delays to their payments, companies owed money by the NHS did not wish to disclose their identities over concerns about damaging their business relationships. In January this year, the NHS total overspend for the year was forecast to reach £790m.

Hewitt: cut 'unnecessary emergency admissions'
If the NHS could cut 30 per cent of its 'unnecessary emergency admissions', services could be improved for patients and more than £400m could be saved, Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt has claimed. Having this week published best practice case studies to highlight how this could be achieved, Hewitt referred to new figures from the NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement that illustrate how patients' value for money could be bettered. The NHS spends approximately £1.3bn each year on admitting patients with 18 common ailments - so-called unplanned 'ambulatory care sensitive' conditions (eg, asthma, angina and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease). Hewitt claimed that these illnesses could be managed better in ìa community settingî thereby reducing costs for Primary Care Trusts in particular.

NHS harbours £6.2bn ìfocus of dissensionî
The new £6.2bn IT programme instigated to make the NHS faster and more efficient has not won the 'hearts and minds' of the workers whose tasks rely on it, according to Sir John Bourn, head of the National Audit Office (NAO), who described the current IT setup as ìa focus of dissensionî within the NHS. In a few months' time, the NAO is due to publish the findings of a study that seeks to uncover some of the underlying poor sentiment of NHS workers towards the unreliable new IT system. Sir John commented that consultants and general practitioners, as well as other healthcare staff, felt that that such a significant technical change was unwarranted and had been imposed upon them.

30th September 2008

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