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