NHS news review

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Conservative election poster 2010

A few recent news articles concerning the UK’s Conservative and Liberal-Democrat coalition government – the ConDem’s – brutal attack on the National Health Service.

NHS news is dominated by an article by Health Secretary Andrew Lansley in the Daily Telegraph.

He claims “The majority of the health budget will be controlled by those who are locally accountable, giving patients the power to scrutinise their local health services, their spending, their decisions and their performance.” which is strange since the Kings Fund submission to the ‘listening exercise’ said exactly the opposite – that there will be less accountability. The government appears to be in rapid rebuttal mode.

“We will never privatise our NHS. But if we choose to ignore the pressures on it. the health service will face a financial crisis within a matter of years that will threaten the very values we hold so dear – of a comprehensive health service, available to all, free at the point of use and based on need and not the ability to pay. I will not allow that to happen.”

The abolish the NHS bill is all about privatising the NHS. Private health care providers cartainly realise it

HealthInvestor: Top health CEOs reveal fears for short-term

The NHS reforms will lead to “short-term pain” but huge long-term opportunities for independent healthcare providers, according to a survey of 20 leading chief executives in the sector.

Consultants The Parthenon Group interviewed 20 CEOs from the UK’s biggest healthcare companies including Nuffield Health, Barchester, Four Seasons, BMI and HCA.

Around 8/10 of respondents remain positive about NHS reform in the long term, with the government’s Any Qualified Provider (AQP) policy still likely to open up much of the NHS market.

Alistair Stranack, partner at The Parthenon Group’s healthcare practice, said he expects around 50% of the NHS’s £120bn funding will be up for grabs via AQP when the reforms are finally passed.

But continued bias against the private sector and worsening bureaucracy means the value of contracts actually awarded to the sector is unlikely to rise above 5-10% over the next five years, he said.

One CEO, responding to the survey, said “the bureaucratic burdeon of AQP is likely to slow down private sector participation and may prove more cumbersome than existing systems of choice like Choose and Book.”

There would be “some hiatus in the short term” but there was “no doubt we will see growth in the longer term as new areas are opened up to AQP,” another company leader commented.

Speaking at a Parthenon event in London, Nick Bosanquet, health economist at Imperial College, predicted that the current crisis in the NHS’s finances would lead to up to 25% of all healthcare in the UK being self-funded or insurance-based by 2018.

NHS news review is very brief today due to network issues.

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