Changes in UK health policy …

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INTERNATIONAL RESEARCH & OPINION Will U ill III 11 II: Re ulator and Healthcare News Changes in UK health policy ... New additions to NHS blacklist A further 60 medicines have been added to the list of drugs for which general practitioners are unable to write National Health Service (NHS) prescriptions.] Over 50% of these medicines are for skin disorders, according to the BMJ; most of the remaining agents are indicated for use in allergic conditions, anaemia, diarrhoea and sleep disorders. Notably, most of the 60 additions are available as over-the-counter products. The impact on patients is expected to be minimal since there are alternatives to the blacklisted medicines, commented Dr Peter Fellows from the Advisory Committee on NHS Drugs. NHS budget increased for 1997 1997 funding for the NHS in England will increase by twice the amount estimated to keep ahead of inflation, reports the BMJ.2 The NHS will receive an additional 1.6 billion ($US2.4 billion) for patient services. A further 525 million in funding is expected from 'efficiency savings', including increasing the unit prescription charge from 5.50 in 1996 to 5.65 in 1997. The UK Department of Health is also providing funding (between 20-100 million) for 4 healthcare initiatives in the areas of primary care, continuing care, medical training and mental health. Total healthcare spending by the NHS in England is estimated at 33 billion for 1997-1998. Improved patient care targeted UK Health Secretary Stephen Dorrell has launched a programme designed to improve the quality of patient care provided by the NHS.2 The programme, which reflects the need for management decisions to be driven by patient needs, aims to: use patients' experiences to improve patient care improve the measurement and monitoring of service quality use best evidence about the clinical effectiveness of treatment options ensure quality of patient care is central to decisions concerning priority setting and commissioning of care place greater emphasis on quality of care and treat-ment components of performance measures used for health authorities and NHS Trusts. 1. Legge A. Sixty medicines are blacklisted British Medical Journal 3\3: 1427. 7 Dec 1996 2. Warden J. NHS does well from British Budget. BMJ 3\3: 1426. 7 Dec 19963. M2 Presswire.; 5 Dec 1996 """"". Jj' 1173-5503I96I0092-0007J$01 .000 Adis International Limited 1996. All rights reserved Pham1acoEconomics & Ou1comes News 14 Dee 1996 No. 92 7