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Independents' Day

NHS funding decisions made on civil servants' judgments, cycle scheme discriminates against the elderly and call for lung cancer screening

A round-up of the morning’s health news headlines.

Government auditors have found evidence of an ‘unfair’ distribution of health service funds, according to the Guardian. A report by the National Audit Office revealed that many funding decisions over the Government’s £79bn budget had been made on individual civil servants’ judgments instead of being based on evidence. West London was found to be the most overfunded area, while Corby in Northamtonshire was the most underfunded.

A publicly-funded cycle scheme has been accused of discrimination for not accommodating elderly or diverse groups, says the Independent. Birmingham has been granted £17m by the Department of Transport to develop their cycling infrastructure, yet local councillors have criticised the plans for a new ‘Cycle City’ as catering to the health and transport needs of only young white men.

And a leading cancer expert has called for more and earlier screening of lung cancer, says the BBC. Professor John Field says that data from the US shows that screening can lead to 20% fewer deaths from lung cancer among patients with a history of heavy smoking. Prof Field, who leads the UK Lung Cancer Screening trial (UKLS), argues that planning should start now for the screening of smokers aged 55-80 by the end of 2016.

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Readers' comments (1)

  • Re: funding formula - a lot of years ago, I was an external auditor for World Class Commissioning audit on the PCT with the highest in year deficit.
    So why was their deficit so bad? According to the government, they didn't control their spending.
    Well we did find some evidence of waste, and some of incompetence. But deficit comes from two sources - high spend and low income.
    So we looked at income. At the time (2004), we found that we could predict which PCTs would be in deficit, simply by checking certain demographics. In other words, the funding formula was wrong. If we could predict it so easily, why couldn't Department of Health? Perhaps because they didn't want a fact to spoil a good opinion

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