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Relief as life sciences spared in UK cutbacks

UK government funding for life sciences R&D has been spared from the deep cuts some had feared.

Many in the broader science community had feared the coalition’s Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR) would take an axe to funding, but vigorous campaigning to maintain funding seem to have p

NHS budget 'will have to stretch further'

Chancellor George Osborne
Chancellor George Osborne told the BBC "the path to economic ruin" lay ahead if the deficit was not tackled

The NHS budget has been protected from the worst of the Comprehensive Spending Review’s swingeing cuts, with a raise that is above the rate of inflation - but only by the tiniest margin.

The UK is facing its biggest spending cuts for decades, with £81 billion to be slashed from budgets over the next four years, and the health service will not be immune.

NHS Confederation warns on health cuts

In the week of the Comprehensive Spending Review, the NHS Confederation has painted a dire picture of the effect of major cuts to the health service.

The body, which represents the majority of acute Trusts, warns the government that the NHS already faces a “potent cocktail of financial pressures”.

27 health quangos cut or 'reconstituted'

The coalition government’s review of its health advisory bodies won’t end with the abolition of 10 healthcare quangos, among them the Health Protection Agency and the Gene Therapy Advisory Committee, that was announced in July.

A further 17 are to be ‘reconstituted’, with some joining other “arm’s length bodies” and others seeing their official status changed to that of a ‘committee of experts’.

Government drops generic substitution plans

Generic medicines

The coalition government has dropped plans to implement generic substitution in England.

The Pharmaceutical Price Regulation Scheme (PPRS), a scheme agreed by the DH and UK industry body ABPI, could have allowed pharmacists to swap a doctor-prescribed branded medicine with a generic substitute in an effort of cost-effectiveness.

NHS reforms moving 'too fast'

The government’s plans to reform the NHS are moving too far according to health think tank the King’s Fund.

Radical measures set out in the coalition’s July White Paper include putting doctors in direct charge of billions of pounds of the NHS budget and abolishing Primary Care Trusts.

“We question the need to embark on such a fundamental reorganisation as the NHS faces up to the biggest financial challenge in its history,” says King’s Fund chief executive Chris Ham.

Uncertainty over new cancer fund

GSK's Tyverb
GSK’s Tyverb, rejected by NICE, could be one drug made more available through the new fund

The UK government has launched its £50 million interim fund to give greater access to new cancer medicines.

The new money has been welcomed by patient groups and the pharma industry, but there are misgivings about how the fund will be administered.

Moreover, there are fears the government will cut the permanent annual fund from the £200 million originally promised, meaning far fewer patients would benefit.

GPs in the driving seat for 'clinical commissioning'

Published on 12/08/10 at 10:16am
Ben Adams
Lansley and Cameron
In consultation: Andrew Lansley and prime minister David Cameron visit the Royal Marsden hospital ahead of unveiling the reforms

The reforms of the NHS unveiled in July will have a radial impact on how the service is run, giving GPs control of spending and seeing current management structures abolished.

Many commentators say the reforms are as great as any the health service has undergone since its creation in 1948, but opinions are divided on whether the plan to improve patient care and cutting costs can work.

Reforms could mean 'de-nationalisation' of NHS

Tribal, a private healthcare provider, has welcomed the new NHS reforms, saying they are so radical that they could represent the ‘de-nationalisation’ of the health service.

It uses this term to refer to the transformation of NHS trusts into employee-owned organisations rather than publicly owned - however critics have seized on it as a sign of a private company takeover of the NHS.

NICE: the end of an era

NICE protesters
After 11 years as the villain, NICE will no longer be asked to make the ‘nasty decisions’

NICE is undergoing a momentus shift in its role which will see it leave behind the frequent clashes and controversy surrounding its appraisal system of drugs.

Observers of the NHS will be forgiven for having missed the full import of recent announcements about NICE, coming as they have amid a tidal wave of change for the whole health service.

The key message from health secretary Andrew Lansley is clear, however - NICE will no longer have to power to say yes or no to new medicines, to recommend or not recommend their use on the NHS.

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