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NHS cash incentive scheme saves nearly 900 lives and the sweet that keeps you smelling, well, sweet

The BBC reports on a warning by the National Audit Office that the NHS must get tougher at negotiating future private deals after signing a contract with a firm to manage an NHS hospital in Cambridgeshire requiring ‘unprecedented’ targets.

The company Circle is aiming to make over £300m of savings in the 10 years it has been given to run Hinchingbrooke Hospital.

Circle says the heavily-indebted hospital can break even in 2013.

The Daily Telegraph has published the findings of a study which suggests that a ‘cash incentive’ scheme that rewards NHS hospitals for cutting death rates has helped saved almost 900 lives.

The £4.8 million pay-for-performance scheme in north west England led to 890 lives being saved across 24 hospitals providing emergency care, over an 18-month period.

University researchers found a “significant” fall in mortality rates for pneumonia, heart failure and heart attacks.

The results, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, contrast with other studies looking at similar schemes in the US, which found they were a waste of money.

In the ‘Advancing Quality’ scheme in north west England, it was agreed that cash bonuses would be paid to the top-performing clinical teams to invest in further improvements in care.

Researchers then compared figures for in-hospital deaths within 30 days of admission, in the 18 months before and after the scheme’s introduction. It total they looked at figures for almost 135,000 patients admitted for pneumonia, heart failure and heart attacks over the three year period.

And next time a patient comes to you complaining of hyperhidrosis, tell them to eat a sweet. Yes that’s right, no more earth-destroying aerosols or sticky roll-ons, the Daily Mail reports of an American sweet called Deo Perfume Candy ‘that releases a lingering rose scent through the pores of your skin’.

Apparently ‘the sweets contain chemical compounds that cannot be broken down by the body and so are excreted through the skin’. At £6.25 a bag they’re not cheap, but who wouldn’t want to munch on some deoderant ?