Direct comparison of private sector and NHS prices is fraught with difficulty; and NHS prices are…
Direct comparison of private sector and NHS prices is fraught with difficulty; and NHS prices are expected to rise as they become more accurate as a result of being used internally to pay hospitals. But with contracts for a second wave of treatment centres expected to be announced in the summer, by 2008 the private sector looks set to be treating a minimum of 600,000 NHS patients a year – approaching a ten-fold increase on the numbers last year. Mr Reid has said perhaps 15 per cent of NHS operations could be privately provided – that would amount to 1m a year out of the 7m-plus that the NHS is projected to provide towards the end of the decade. And that figure would match the current total size of the private sector. There is an undoubted irony that it is a Labour government presiding over the biggest expansion in privately provided care since the NHS was founded in 1948. Some doubt it will last. Not all the overseas contracts have been signed. Some providers have been dumped and swapped for others. These are either teething troubles as the NHS seeks the best price going, or a sign of more fundamental problems. Among the sceptics is Charles Auld, chief executive of General Healthcare. Last week he said: ‘The big question is sustainability’ – an issue that worries other private hospital executives. His company has undertaken significant cardiac work for the NHS but has yet to win one of the big contracts. The treatment centre deals run for five years. But he queried whether the money would be there to pay for them when the current period of 7 per cent real terms growth for the NHS ended in 2008. In addition, to achieve its current cuts in waiting times ‘the NHS is sprinting. But this is a marathon. And you can’t keep sprinting over a marathon.’ However, William Laing, of Laing and Buisson, said that while NHS spending growth might well slow after 2008, growth was bound to continue. 1. To what extent do you consider this change to be ‘frame-breaking’ change? Justify your view. 2. In your opinion, which sectors and elements of the environment do you consider to have had the most influence on the decisions detailed in the case? Justify your conclusions. 3. From your knowledge and experience of the NHS and private healthcare providers, analyze the effects that will be felt by doctors, other medical staff and administrators in the NHS and other healthcare providers. 4. What effects, if any, over the longer term might these changes have for patients? (minimum 1500 words.) Apr 08 2022 02:07 PM
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