News & Articles

Not such a Happy Birthday for the NHS

30/07/2018

When it comes to opening gifts on your birthday, there are some that seem good at the outset but quickly lose their shine. We couldn’t help but consider this scenario following Theresa May’s recent announcement that the government will furnish the NHS with an extra £20bn funding package by the year 2023 as a 70th birthday present.

It may sound impressive but thanks to huge budget cuts over the past few years, these extra funds would still fall short of the four per cent historical average increase in funding per annum. This is also one of those gifts that come with certain caveats. It is based on the assumption that the NHS will roll out integrated physical, mental and social care on a large scale in the near future.

An Accountable Care Model

This type of accountable care model, where one main provider subcontracts out their services to others, is far from perfect. It could dilute the quality of the service away from a patient-friendly model and higher-quality, more expensive hospitals towards community-led initiatives.

With eight per cent of the NHS outsourcing to the private sector, there is a certain type of multi-level system already in place. But the prospect of potentially gaining access to private healthcare standard services through the NHS is not quite as perfect as it sounds.

As Dr. Louise Irvine of the National Health Action Party explains, private companies “cherry-pick what they want to do. They naturally do the easy stuff, leaving the NHS with the more complicated elements that are more expensive.”

This could potentially mean that those people in need of more serious and complex operations and treatment risk an even longer wait on the already fit-to-burst NHS waiting lists.

The Privatisation Issue

The NHS are squeezing their budgets more tightly than ever with budget cuts and rerouting funds to private finance initiatives putting yet more pressure on the ailing public healthcare system.

With the NHS in crisis, an article in The Telegraph reports that the system would need to make radical reforms or build 70 hospitals in the next decade simply to keep up with demand.

Against this unstable landscape, the privatisation issue cannot help but rear its head. As public healthcare edges towards a higher level of corporate control through private investors and corporations, more and more finances are being extracted from the public service model and the NHS foundations are only growing weaker. This gradual shift towards private investor control also indicates a foreboding turn of events for the future of private healthcare.

This type of integrated model and community programme system risks the decentralisation of our public healthcare model. It may likely mean a significant drop in standards with resources stretched even thinner.

Mind the Gap

In the aftermath of the 2012 Health Act, contracts will also be available to non-NHS entities, e.g. insurance companies. This means the gap between private and public healthcare will inevitably grow wider. We are moving towards an entirely fragmented system where the structure for an integrated approach is growing more and more remote by the day.

The NHS desperately needs funding channelled in more effective directions to rebuild its structure and foundations as a public healthcare model available to everyone in need. As it stands, privatisation is growing closer by the minute which naturally steers us in the direction of private healthcare. We need and deserve healthcare services that we can feel confident in.

The Benefits of Private Healthcare

Private healthcare is a solid option that provides medical and emotional support without the fear of long waiting lists and low-level medical care in a culture of uncertainty. The situation with the NHS only appears to be growing more serious by the day and many of us simply cannot afford to take such a risk with our health.

As individuals, private healthcare offers security and stability for ourselves and our families with exceptional standards of care. And as business owners, private healthcare is a high-value employee benefit that will support recruitment and retention as well as strengthen employer-employee relationships.

If you would like to learn more about the range of individual and corporate private healthcare options available, please give our expert advisers at Vintage Health a call on 020 8371 5240 or email info@vintagehealth.co.uk. And don’t forget to follow us on Twitter to keep up to date with all the latest news affecting UK businesses.