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'Scrap NHS Direct and homeopathy funding' says think-tank

By Alisdair Stirling

Swingeing health service cuts - including scrapping NHS Direct, a radical overhaul of the NHS IT plan and axing homeopathy on the NHS - could save over £12 billion in the next year, a right wing think-tank has proposed.

The plans, set out before the publication of the Budget and new NHS operating framework this week also call for a halt to any new building and a 5% pay cut for all NHS staff.

The proposals were drawn up by the centre-right 2020health known to have close links to Conservatives on the new coalition government´s health team.

The largest savings would come from salary cuts which could save the NHS £1.8 billion and from management cuts of 30% and abolishing quangos saving a further £1.5 billion.

Scrapping NHS Direct would save £139 million, a radical overhaul of the NHS IT plan would save £1 billion, while banning homeopathy on the NHS would save a further £12m, the report said.

Other key suggested cuts include:

  • Better organisation of data to reduce staff time spent searching for lost equiment or records - £1 billion
  • Streamlining NHS counter-fraud - £1 billion
  • Merging PCTs and local authority administration services together - £575 million

Julia Manning, chief executive of 2020health, said: 'The savings can be reinvested in new technology and elderly care.

'They can be made ahead of the longer-term changes such as reconfiguration of services, reducing practice variation, reducing low-level demand and opening up more competition,' she said.

'Scrap NHS Direct and homeopathy funding' says think-tank

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