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NHS Wales boss: Demand 'can make it difficult to deliver all services at all times'

The chief executive of NHS Wales has warned that high demand on the Welsh NHS during winter can adversely affect services.

Emergency and urgent care services will inevitably experience high levels of demand during the winter months, which can make it difficult for NHS Wales services to deliver all services at all times.

I’m urging the people of Wales to choose well this winter and to only call 999 or attend A&E in a genuine emergency.

– Dr Andrew Goodall, Chief executive of NHS Wales

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Department of Health defends NHS private contracts

A Department of Health spokesperson told the BBC:

Official NHS accounts show that use of the private sector amounts to only six pence in every pound the NHS spends, slowing the rate of increase to just one penny since May 2010.

Charities, social enterprises and other providers of healthcare play an important role in the NHS, as they have done for many years.

Government's reforms 'accelerating the privatisation of the NHS'

The BMJ claims campaigners said the findings "provided further evidence that the Government's reforms are gradually accelerating the privatisation of the NHS".

Private sector providers were most successful at winning contracts awarded via competitive tender, the BMJ said, being awarded 41% compared to 30% won by NHS providers.

The BMJ stated that private firms were more likely to win smaller contracts on an any qualified provider basis. The journal said it found concerns among health professionals about "fragmentation of care and a lack of transparency over where NHS funds were being spent".

A third of NHS contracts given to private sector providers

A third of NHS contracts have been awarded to private sector providers since health reforms were introduced, figures obtained by the British Medical Journal (BMJ) show.

Of 3,494 contracts awarded by 182 of England's clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) since they came into being in April 2013, almost half went to non-NHS providers.

A third of NHS contracts given to private sector providers Credit: Peter Byrne/PA Wire

Among these more than 300 went to voluntary and social enterprise sector providers while 100 were awarded to others such as joint ventures or local authorities, according to figures released to the BMJ under the Freedom of Information Act.

Some 33% (1,149 contracts) were awarded to private sector providers, the journal states.

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More NHS 'heroes' join Ebola fight in Sierra Leone

Credit: PA

A second wave of NHS 'heroes' are due to arrive in Sierra Leone today to help tackle the deadly Ebola outbreak.

The 25 doctors, nurses and other medical staff from across the UK will join 30 NHS volunteers who flew out last month.

International Development Secretary Justine Greening said: "These NHS heroes will play a vital role in our efforts to take this disease on at source."

The volunteers have had five days of intensive training in Worcestershire before travelling to Sierra Leone's capital Freetown.

After arriving they will complete further in-country training and acclimatisation, including at the British-built treatment centres where they will be working.

Staff nurse Hannah McReynolds, from Leicester, said: "As soon as I heard NHS staff were volunteering I didn't hesitate to apply.

"I feel privileged to have been selected to be part of this team. This is a global issue and I am proud of my colleagues who have volunteered and want to encourage others to do so."

Osborne: Banks' fines will help fund NHS investment

The Chancellor has said the government's spending plan has got public finances "under control" now - and that is what will pay for the extra £2 billion a year set to be ploughed into the NHS.

George Osborne told ITV News that money being paid by banks in fines would also go into the health service, and would be invested in GP services in the community.

IFS: NHS funding 'paid for by cuts to public spending'

The head of the Institute for Fiscal Studies, Paul Johnson, said the government would fund the £2 billion extra for the NHS by making a number of cuts to other areas of public spending such as local authorities already been hit by austerity.

In an interview with Political Correspondent Libby Wiener he said the spending cuts and austerity measures were by no means over - in fact only half had been implemented - and there was an element of "robbing Peter to pay Paul" in today's announcement.

Mr Johnson said the government's plans to curtail welfare spending had not gone very well so far, as rents have went up whilst wages have went down.

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