Honesty on choice

Gail Beer, Consultant Director and Julia Manning, Chief Exec

Stephen Bubb was on the BBC this morning talking a lot of sense about choice. But what do we mean by choice? The current system has limited flexibility due to the commissioning process and contract caps. Choice is only available in as much as the NHS lets you have it.  Without a real market place within health between NHS organisations, the private and 3rd sectors choice cannot drive up the quality of care as much as is talked about.  NHS organisations are not allowed to fail. Choice of provider is often limited outside of major cities due to a lack of alternative providers.  The public need to know this – otherwise they will feel mislead and let down.

If we are to have choice let’s make it relevant, understandable and give the patient and their carers real choices; stick to basics and get that right.

  • Treatment when you want it with all providers offering extended times not just 9-5
  • Treatment options on implants, prosthetics and drugs with the right to choose to top-up if you want to – choices are currently being denied because of the inability to do this.
  • The right to choose a provider nearer to those who care for you
  • The right to choose your GP and pathway provider
  • Accept some patients don’t want choice

Giving choice makes demands on clinical time in order to explain to patients.  Choice requires a less paternalistic approach and partnership with patients needs to be increased. Through working in partnership and giving patients more understanding of their options on treatment we may well see a greater clamour for choice on provider and all the risks that brings with it for organisations who fail to deliver.



About Julia Manning

Julia Manning is a social pioneer, writer, campaigner and commentator. Formerly a clinical optometrist specialising in diabetes and visual impairment, she is the founder and Director of 2020health, an independent, social enterprise Think Tank whose aim is to Make Health Personal and Social. 2020health has through research, events and campaigning influenced opinion and action in fields as diverse as bioethics, alcohol, emerging technologies, fraud, education, consumer technology and vaccination. In 2014, 2020health were founding partners of the Health Tech and You Awards with Axa PPP and the Design Museum. Since 2016, 2020health has increasingly focused on digital health and public health in the community. Julia is a Fellow of the RSA and now also a part-time PhD student at the UCL Interaction Centre, studying the use of digital technology for stress management in the workplace. 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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