Is the NHS biased against private sector?

Guest Blog by Gail Beer

NHS managers stand accused of being anti-competitive and taking measures that restrict patient choice regarding where their treatment can take place.

The waste here is that we need a wider debate on the future of healthcare in this country rather than spending time on arguing on restructuring and re-organising that may well leave us with the same system for delivering health care that we have now.

The aging population and increase in those who will suffer from complex and multiple long-term conditions will be the real challenges that we face rather than worrying about opening up the market and increasing Patient Choice.

Given that 70% of beds are occupied by patients suffering from Long Term conditions, for far too long the focus has been on where and when cold surgery will be delivered.  If we are to cope with the challenges of the  future it is imperative that we understand the scale of these challenges and develop clear strategies for coping.  This will involve reshaping where and when care is delivered, using new technologies and new providers. The NHS will not be able to deliver all our requirements and should welcome assistance in meeting patient’s needs. In redefining how we deliver care in the future, hospitals will have to adapt to a new environment and may well not be able to deliver everything and this will reshape some hospitals.  Saving hospitals as they are may well be detrimental in the long run.  The public, and that includes those working in the NHS, need to enter into the debate and understand the consequences of standing still and clinging to outdated beliefs.

Quality and timeliness of care cannot be preserved if we continue as we are and that is what matters.

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About Julia Manning

Julia Manning is a social entrepreneur, writer, campaigner and commentator. She is based in London and is the founder and Chief Executive of 2020health, an independent, social enterprise Think Tank whose aim is to Make Health Personal. Through networking, technology, research, relationships and campaigning 2020health has influenced opinion and action in fields as diverse as bioethics, alcohol, emerging technologies, fraud, education, consumer technology and vaccination. Julia studied visual science at City University and became a member of the College of Optometrists in 1991. Her career has included being a visiting lecturer at City University, a visiting clinician at the Royal Free Hospital, working with south London Primary Care Trusts and as a Director of the UK Institute of Optometry. She specialised in diabetes (University of Warwick Certificate in Diabetic Care) and founded Julia Manning Eyecare in 2004, a home and prison visiting practice for people with mental and physical disabilities using the latest digital technology, which she sold to Healthcall (now part of Specsavers) in 2009. Experiences of working in the NHS, contributing to policy development, raising two children in the inner-city and standing in the General Election in Bristol in 2005 led to Julia forming 2020health at the end of 2006. Julia is a regular guest on TV and radio shows such as BBC News, ITV’s Daybreak/ GMB, Channel 5 News, BBC 1′s The Big Questions, BBC Radio, LBC and has taken part in debates and contributed to BBC’s Newsnight, Panorama, You and Yours and ITV’s The Week. She is mum to a rugby-mad son, a daughter passionate about Shakespeare, and wife of a comprehensive school assistant head-teacher. She loves gardening, ballet, Zimbabwe, her Westies Skye and Angus, is an honorary research associate at UCL and a Fellow of the RSA.
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