"The NHS will last as long as there are folk left with the faith to fight for it"
Aneurin Bevan

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Cynic? Me?

Just at the time when Lansley is getting a lot of stick in the Press for his incompetent running of the NHS (the looming financial crisis, and his incompetent handling of flu vaccinations) the Department of Health suddenly comes up with a good news story: new money.

Following a successful efficiency drive, the Department of Health is able to make an extra £162 million available to local health and care services to spend this financial year on front line services, Health Secretary Andrew Lansley announced today.

The extra money will be spent on helping people to leave hospital more quickly, get settled back at home with the support they need, and to prevent unnecessary admissions to hospital.

The funding will bring forward the plans being put in place by health and local authorities to work together using NHS funding to support social care, as announced in the spending review. It will also enable local services to respond to pressures this winter.
This money will be spent on reablement services. That is, it will be used to prop up social services who will suffer huge damaging cuts from Pickles axe. The short term Pickles cuts will result in people spending more time in hospital because they cannot be discharged without the social care in place. Cuts in local authority funding means that social care is being devastated. This £162m is vital to stop the NHS costs rising rapidly.

Where does this money come from? The Press Release says:
The Department has made efficiency savings by applying the controls over central spending on consultancy, IT, administration and advertising common across all of Government.

I keep a close eye on announcements from the department, but this is the first time I have heard of this "efficiency saving" and the Press Release does not say where the money comes from. However, I do notice the phrase "common across all of Government" at the end of that sentence.

Is this a lifeline from Osborne thrown to Lansley? Is the Chancellor trying to help out the beleaguered Health Secretary by giving him a smidgeon more?

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