Saturday, June 02, 2007

NHS under-spend - "boom and bust" lives on

It was depressing to read this week that the NHS had under-spent £500million as a result of a starvation diet in the latter months of 2006/7. (The under-spent was achieved in some areas by a sharp change of gear with the temporary introduction of maximum waiting times despite the minimum waiting times so central to NHS objectives.)

The diet was required to avoid the political embarrassment of the NHS £90billion budget being overspent by a pound.

Isn’t this one of the strongest arguments for the NHS being considered a set of healthcare entitlements rather than a nationalised industry?

In January the Reform think tank published an analysis on NHS developments that policy that policy was marked by “stop-go” (NHS reform: the empire strikes back, pdf available). It’s a pity that the NHS is still infected by “boom and bust” in contrast to a wider economy marked by stability and success.

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