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NHS to fight for fairer funding


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Friday, 9 June 2017

NHS to fight for fairer funding

A new fairer funding system is to be rolled out across the NHS following successful trials. Hospital finances and commissioning budgets could in future be decided by wrestling matches between NHS managers.

The existing funding formula has been criticised as complex and unfair. Under the proposed system, commissioning managers could fight to increase their allocations or go head to head with neighbouring CCGs in winner takes all contests.

NHS trusts could also enter the ring with opponents from NHS Improvement to win points that could be offset against their control totals, the spending limits imposed on them by the regulator.

Announcing the plans, NHS England acknowledged that previous attempts to resolve funding disputes had largely failed. “Many trusts knew they could rely on bailouts if they drifted into deficit and had no real incentive to achieve financial balance. The prospect of going six rounds with Jim ‘Big Daddy’ Mackey will make them think again.”

Previous formulae based on weighted populations or historic funding levels had their weaknesses, NHS England said. “We’ve always said we want to encourage strong leadership. What better way to test the mettle of chief executives and finance directors than to see how well they cope with a chokeslam or a piledriver?”

The contests will be based closely on existing professional wrestling rules, but with some key differences. Contestants will be permitted to use “exceptional levers” on opponents if they find themselves on the ropes. An agency cap or equivalent protective headgear will be compulsory. Wearing a support chassis is permitted. Hitting an opponent beneath one is not.   

Contests will be decided by three falls or submission of a credible cost improvement plan. Referees will be able to reconfigure weak contestants or put them in special measures for their own protection.

Seats at the new funding bouts will be offered to NHS staff, patients and members of the public, with ticket sales predicted to be valuable source of additional revenue.

Tag matches are expected to be particularly popular. Local areas are to be invited to seek strategic tag partners, typically teaming heavyweight contestants from the acute trust and the local authority.

Defending criticisms of the new funding plans, NHS England said: “Sorting out NHS finances has always been brutal. We now want to make it entertaining as well.”

A spokesman said the safety of contestants would be taken very seriously. Nobody would be allowed into the ring until they had successfully completed a number of training exercises starting with pillow fights and basic arm-twisting.

Experts accused NHS England of “a fix”.

“Everyone knows that NHS funding is not a real sport and that the results are decided in advance,” said one.

Entertainment editor: Julian Patterson


Andrew Rix
Andrew Rix says:
Jun 09, 2017 08:45 PM

When does the recruitment process for referees begin?