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The government is launching a £16.8 million study into the value of the NHS, a government source said today.
The analysis, funded by the Department of Health, will examine the impact of changing the public finance settlement, which favours hospitals over voluntary schemes or, in rare cases, voluntary fees.
The research is on the “first stage” and will then be followed by a “full programme of work” on the “third stage”, this government source said.
The UK government is due to publish the results of the study in April, along with recommendations on the next stage of reform and how best to address issues raised by the research.
However, the government source insisted that the information released was about specific NHS health-related issues, rather than the overall NHS, and could not be used to “make a blanket judgement” about the overall health system. There would be “no general blanket recommendation” on how to finance the NHS or how to fix its funding, the source added.
“We won’t be making any blanket judgement on health reform,” it said, adding that the review was not part of “reform” of the NHS or its financing and that it was focused on “the specific issues”.
The latest study comes a day before Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt is due to set out further detailed plans for the NHS in the House of Commons, including a “redistribution” of health-related spending between the NHS and other health-payer groups.
It is a sign of further tension between Hunt and Jeremy Hunt’s Conservative party over NHS funding. Hunt has refused to agree to NHS commissioners having more input on what the NHS pays hospitals.
The new analysis, based on data from the Office for National Statistics, will examine whether more cash to health boards is needed, and will conclude whether it would save money to pay for services over a 20-year period.
The Government has already launched a major review of the funding for the NHS, led by Dame Janet Finch-Webb, the former chief executive of the NHS trust in Manchester city. The review sets out the findings of a previous study, released in February, commissioned by NHS England.
The new review, led by Dr Finch-Webb, has already outlined plans to improve accountability – for example by requiring health boards to report to the health
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