Thursday, November 9, 2006

Roller coaster rides

The NHS is slipping into the red, the yearly roller coaster of NHS finances is staring its downward run. £93m deficit, which will be covered by raiding training budgets yet again. The annual financial cycle of the NHS means that Trusts have to tighten belts for the last half right in the middle of the winter months when demand for health care peaks!

Ignoring the discussion about why the NHS is in the red for a moment - what would be the effect of the financial year running October to September instead of April to March? The yearly deficits might not change much, but at least the two roller costers (finance and need) would be synchronised. Belt tightening in the summer would be easier and less damaging (there is a smaller peak in the summer though).

The financial year is arbitary anyway, a result of the calender changes in the 18th century that saw the new year move to 1st Jan, and the reluctance of the City to change their reporting to match (9 months figures would be lower than 12 months figures - bad for profit).


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