The NHS has always been seen as the jewel in the crown of the welfare state but recently the coalition government’s NHS Bill has proposed the most far reaching health service reorganisation.
NHS hospitals and services are to become independent health care providers and private companies will have an equal status as health care providers as well. The main change within the health system means that billions of pounds of tax payers’ money will go to the private companies as a part of GP commissioning.
Eighty per cent of the NHS budget will be given to the GPs who have been asked to form up to 500 consortiums across England. Private companies are expected to play a major role in these helping make decisions about the majority of patient services and health spending.
A survey has shown that two thirds of the GPs are worried that the proposed changes will leave them with less choice if their consortium sings contracts with private providers rather than the local NHS. Moreover it has been calculated that in order to apply those changes at least 1.7 billion pounds need to be spent as well as 30,000 jobs within the NHS need to be cut down as the Primary Care Trusts and Strategic Health authorities are being replaced by a new layer of the independent GP administration.
All hospitals and health trust are to become self governing Foundation Trusts by 2014, pushed even further from the NHS by becoming social enterprises acting as independent providers. They will be, therefore, allowed to borrow privately and to make the profits.
A small public health sector will be run by the local councils. The remaining community health services will also be reorganised either as social enterprises or taken over by any willing health care provider whether for-profit or not.
So who will run the NHS? Well, apparently the money for the NHS will continue to be raised by the Treasury but Department of Health will cease to responsible for its operation. The health service will be run as a market overseen by a new Independent Commissioning Board.
And what does it mean for the Patients? The opening up of the health service provision to the competition that the Bill encourages means the parts of the Patient’s care might be delivered by different providers in different places. Competition between health care providers may, however, bring much better services for the Patients as they will be able to choose where they want to be treated. And on the other hand private health care providers will be competing against each other in order to gain the Clients for their health services, which in theory should mean better service for less money. This way of operating has already been implemented in the USA as well as other European Union Countries.