Date Published: 14 April 2010
Independent sector calls upon next Government to revitalise NHS reform
The NHS Partners Network today calls upon the next government to increase the amount of information publicly available to NHS patients, revitalise NHS market reform and fully realise the benefits the independent sector can bring to the health service.
In its paper published today, Harnessing the benefits of the independent sector: priorities for the next government, NHS Partners Network (NHSPN) sets out what it believes are the necessary changes required to reignite the involvement of the independent sector in healthcare and create a genuinely patient-centred NHS despite the financially challenging years ahead.
The paper calls for increased information on all healthcare providers to become available to patients via services such as the NHS Choices website. It advocates wider publication of data to allow better comparison of services in terms of quality and value.
With the independent sector currently operating at a cost disadvantage of around 14% to its public sector counterparts, the creation of a level playing field should be of paramount importance to the next government, according to NHSPN. Above all this means addressing the pensions advantage held by NHS trusts and ensuring that public sector bidders are assessed on the full cost of their cost to the taxpayer.
Commenting on the launch of the publication, NHS Partners Network Director David Worskett, said:
“ Any new Government will have to give priority to improving quality in the NHS whilst securing the financial savings required over the next five years. Giving patients real choices about where and how they are treated, and the information on which to base those choices is fundamental to driving both quality and productivity.
The independent sector can provide the innovation and challenge needed to ensure patients and taxpayers get the best value for their money. Our involvement has already brought significant benefits but a number of additional policy changes are necessary for these benefits to be fully realised.
We have sent this paper to the three main political parties today to highlight what we believe is needed to help the NHS cope with the greatest financial challenge in its history and so continue to improve the services which we all value and cherish"
Other recommendations in the paper include establishing the NHS Cooperation and Competition Panel (CCP) as a body fully independent of political influence. This could be achieved by giving the CCP statutory independence or rolling it into the Office of Fair Trading, according to the network.
Source: NHS Confederation .