Circle have won the bid to be the first private company to run an NHS hospital. They beat off competition from NHS Foundation Trusts and other private sector providers to be named today as the company who will take over running the hospital in summer 2011. However despite the protests that will come from the ‘anti-privatisation’ brigade, this is actually more of a “mutualisation” as the trust’s assets will still be owned by the state and the staff will still have their NHS contracts.
Although the private sector account for only about 3% of NHS hospital and treatment provision at the moment, the bigger picture of private and business involvement demonstrates that the public-private partnership model is not new and does not cause the sky to fall down. Medicines, equipment, diagnostic devices, deliveries, catering, laundry, cleaning, pathology not to mention PFI ‘mortgages’ are all partly or fully supplied by the private sector.
What is important is not who runs the service or supplies the materials – it’s the quality of care and outcomes for patients – and of course that there are no charges for services. Monopolies maintain mediocrity – this announcement is an exciting and welcome development in the history of the NHS.
About Julia Manning
Julia is a social pioneer, writer and campaigner. She studied visual science at City University and became a member of the College of Optometrists in 1991, later specialising in visual impairment and diabetes. During her career in optometry, she lectured at City University, was a visiting clinician at the Royal Free Hospital and worked with Primary Care Trusts. She ran a domiciliary practice across south London and was a Director of the UK Institute of Optometry.
Julia formed 20/20Health in 2006. Becoming an expert in digital health solutions, she led on the NHS–USA Veterans’ Health Digital Health Exchange Programme and was co-founder of the Health Tech and You Awards with Axa PPP and the Design Museum. Her research interests are now in harnessing digital to improve personal health, and she is a PhD candidate in Human Computer Interaction (HCI) at UCL. She is also dedicated to creating a sustainable Whole School Wellbeing Community model for schools that builds relationships, discovers assets and develops life skills. She is a member of the Royal Society of Medicine’s Digital Health Council.
Julia has shared 2020health's research widely in the media (BBC News, ITV, Channel 5 News, BBC 1′s The Big Questions & Victoria Derbyshire, BBC Radio 4 Today, PM and Woman's Hour, LBC) and has taken part in debates and contributed to BBC’s Newsnight, Panorama, You and Yours and ITV’s The Week.
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