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The NHS, now with 20% off


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Friday, 17 December 2010

The NHS, now with 20% off

At this time of year it is customary to take stock and look forward to the challenges of the year ahead.

We have been on an extraordinary journey since last December, one that has spanned many months and literally hundreds of days.

Full details can be found on the NHS Information Centre website where the 2010 Calendar: 1 January to 31 December is available to download. A similar document covering the months that the government expects to roll out during 2011 will be published in the spring.

After an independent review body concluded that the NHS is “time heavy”, an all-party committee considered how radical cost reductions could be effected with no loss of quality, productivity or patient care.

The solution was set out in the seminal report Your NHS: Now With 20% Off, which outlined plans to introduce a shortened year in 2011.

In line with the QIPP agenda, 2011 will run from January to mid October. November and December will be deferred until such time as the NHS can afford the extra months.

The advantage of the new policy is that the existing budget can be spread over a shorter period, conclusively fulfilling the government’s promise of a real-terms increase in funding.

There will also be health benefits since staff who work fewer days will age more slowly in real terms.

While staff with birthdays between January and October will reach pensionable age sooner than they would have done under the existing system, any adverse financial effects will be offset by those with birthdays in the last two months of the year who will remain frozen in time and never qualify for superannuation benefits.

Some details of the new policy remain to be worked out, including the impact on Christmas and the planning implications for influenza. According to documents seen by NHS Networks, Christmas is set to merge with Easter and flu will move to the spring when it can be safely combined with the hayfever season.

There will be one more editorial in 2010. Gravitas should be restored in the new year, but don’t bank on it.


PaulN says:
Apr 18, 2011 05:55 PM
I am stunned by such brilliant and radical thinking with this. However, ending 2011 on October 31st is not a 20% saving - I make it only it 17%. To go for the full 20% saving we would need to end the 2011 NHS year on October 20th. Still, a amall price to pay for financial survival, surely?
jpatterson says:
Apr 18, 2011 05:55 PM
You're right. I stand corrected. It's exactly this kind of sloppy thinking that got the public finances in a mess in the first place. 3% here, 5% there -- it all adds up.