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Cancer care risk from NHS funding

27th August 2008

A new report has indicated that cancer services are at risk of missing out on funds because the system is not sophisticated enough to deal with complex care.

Pound Coins

Within the report by PA Consulting consultants were asked to look at how cancer care was affected by payment by results.

In response, many felt that the system needed reform in order to avoid hospitals being deprived of cash for complex care and new equipment.

Payment by results is still being rolled out across the NHS although there is already a national tariff for thousands of different types of treatment and within that more than 1.5m episodes of cancer care, including tumour removal and diagnosis, are included.

Chemotherapy and radiotherapy are also expected to be included within that in the next few years.

However, PA Consulting suggests that there were examples of where payment by results did not reflect the nature of cancer treatment such as in complex renal care.

Liberal Democrat health spokesman Norman Lamb said the system was penalising specialist services and added: "This report is a devastating critique of the problems the new system of funding is having."

He also accused the government of trying to hide the findings by publishing it on the day the Olympic Games started in Beijing.

That claim was subsequently denied by the government and the Department of Health has stressed that linking payments to individual patients through payment by results introduces much more transparency than the previous system of block budgets, though said the system would evolve.

 

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