Sunday, June 04, 2006

Recent Bonfires- 19

In the news this week:

£20bn NHS supercomputer means longer waits- "EVIDENCE that the government’s troubled £20 billion National Health Service computer system has lengthened waiting times for patients has emerged for the first time. It was hoped that a pilot scheme for the technology at the Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre NHS Trust in Oxford would show the benefits of the delayed system. Instead, when it went “live”, the computers crashed, data could not be found and some patients found that they were facing among the longest waits for operations in the country. Staff who were instructed to sort out the problem could not even establish from the malfunctioning computers which patients had been waiting the longest and the numbers kept climbing." (Sunday Times 4.6.06)

£1,000 each for MPs' World Cup junket- "MPs have been given free World Cup tickets by fast-food giant McDonald's - to the fury of ordinary fans who face being locked out of England's matches. The politicians asked the company for seats to watch England's opening game against Paraguay on Saturday - the tickets they and their Commons researchers received now command more than £1,000 each on the black market.The Parliamentary Football Club, whose members include Health Minister Andy Burnham and Pensions Minister James Purnell, secured the coveted tickets after approaching McDonald's, despite its role in the long-running storm over healthy eating." ( Mail on Sunday 4.6.06)

NHS pays £1,250 for one nurse's shift- "NHS chiefs paid an astonishing £1,250 for an agency nurse to cover a single shift, according to new figures which reveal that tens of millions of pounds is still being spent every year across Scotland to cover staff shortages. Despite pledges to reduce reliance on out-of-house agencies, the NHS in Scotland is still turning to the quick-fix route of agency nurses and doctors to cover sickness, holidays and unfilled vacancies which last year cost it more than £40m." (Scotsman 4.6.06)

£1bn pa will always be wasted on tax credits- "More than £1billion will be wasted on tax credits every year, the Government admitted yesterday. The Inland Revenue has already written off £3billion of taxpayers' money handed to families by mistake in the past three years. Ministers conceded they were never going to solve the problem because of the system's complexity. Losses are likely to carry on running at some £1.2billion a year, of which half will have to be written off. Chief Secretary to the Treasury Stephen Timms said the Government had introduced changes to cut down on errors. But he admitted: "Once fully implemented, we expect them to reduce overpayments in future years by around one third." That means £1.2billion will be paid out wrongly every year unless tax credits are scrapped altogether." (Mail 1.6.06)

Total for week- £21,040,011,000

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