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News digest 1/4/16: NHS fines ‘shortsighted’

01 April 2016 by Henry Ker

NHS fines ‘shortsighted’ - read more

NHS fines ‘shortsighted’

£600 million in hospital fines over missed patient targets have been criticised by NHS trust bosses. The fines have been labelled ‘shortsighted’ and ‘counterproductive’, instead pushing hospitals further into debt and affecting the quality of care offered.

NHS Providers say the fines for A&E and care quotas do not make sense as approximately 90% of trusts are already in deficit and the sector as a whole is due to end the financial year an estimated £2.8 billion in debt.

Chris Hopson, Chief Executive of NHS Providers, said ‘NHS trust chief executives tell us they are intensely frustrated by these fines and see them as shortsighted, counterproductive and reflecting a sense of denial about how serious the problems facing hospital, community, mental health and ambulance services really are.’


GSK to give poor countries better access to drugs

The pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline has said it will make it easier for manufacturers in the poorest countries to produce its drugs by not filing patents in these countries.

GSK hopes to increase the availability of its drugs to the public in 50 countries with a combined population of about 1 billion people. The countries in which it will not file for patents were selected in accordance with international guidelines set out by the UN and World Bank. GSK will still file patents in ‘lower middle income countries’, but will grant licences to generic manufacturers for a ‘small royalty’.


UK has more high-earning bankers than rest of EU

There are now nearly 3,000 City bankers earning more than €1 million a year, more than three times as many as the rest of the EU combined, according to the European Banking Authority (EBA).

The data shows that the number of high-earners in the EU finance industry across the EU rose 21.6% − from 3,178 in 2013 to 3,865 in 2014. The increase was mostly due to the huge leap in the UK − 2,926 from 2,086, a 40% increase. There are several suggested reasons for the increase, one being to circumvent the EU bonus cap, although the exchange rate and comparatively strong value of sterling contributed.

This increase was recorded in the first year after the EU bonus cap and new EBA rules on reporting staff remuneration came into effect.


Alstom UK president faces bribery charge

The UK president of French rail and power operator Alstom is the latest to be charged in a long-running bribery investigation surrounding the company. Terence Stuart Watson is accused of conspiring to pay bribes to win contracts for the supply of trains to the Budapest Metro over a six-year period until the end of 2008. In total seven people have been charged in the SFO’s investigation.

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