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We should privatise the NHS Watch

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    Hold on, before you respond with furious consternation and disbelief, hear me out. Opponents of healthcare reform in this country always point to the United States as the only other alternative to healthcare provision which is highly dishonest. When I say "privatise", I don't mean sell off the NHS on the stock market to private investors and force people to buy absurdly expensive health insurance. What I mean is that we should make greater use of the private sector within the NHS itself. Let's be honest, the current model of healthcare in the UK isn't sustainable for all sorts of reasons from an ageing demographic to greater prevalence of health issues related to lifestyle choices (we Brits exercise less than we ever have and shove more processed junk food down our throats than ever before). Despite consistent increases in the NHS budget since 2010, we always see reports of A&E departments overrun and our waiting times in comparison to the waiting times of other healthcare systems put us to shame.

    Contrary to popular opinion, there is a third way when it comes to healthcare provision. In fact, few other developed countries in the world have copied the UK's NHS model whereby the government has a near total monopoly over healthcare provision. Critics of this government treat privatisation as a dirty word as if it can't bring anything positive to the table but those criticisms are flawed for two reasons. Firstly, the NHS is hardly being privatised. Under 10% of the NHS budget is dedicated to private providers, meaning more than 90% of the NHS is run by the government. Secondly, the notion that private involvement in healthcare is an evil sin is rejected by the systems which countries like Germany, Switzerland or France have in place. In those countries, the government collects taxes to pay for healthcare, but a mixture of private companies, charities and NGOs and the government provide the healthcare. The resulting competition leads to an efficiency and quality of patient care which we couldn't imagine in the UK.

    The OECD, World Health Organisation and Euro health consumer index always rank the UK in the bottom third when it comes to healthcare. Our waiting times are longer, our cancer survival rates are worse, we have less hospital beds and doctors per patient. On every significant metric relating to patient outcomes, the NHS is outperformed by these single-payer or social health insurance systems. Simply throwing more money at an already very expensive part of government won't necessarily translate into healthcare improvements. For example, within the G7 Italy spent the least per person on healthcare but had the second highest life expectancy. The NHS has very deep structural problems. It is an outdated system designed 70 years ago in an era where healthcare was the luxury of the rich and where private health infrastructure didn't exist to serve the masses. The world has since changed.

    "Privatisation" doesn't have to mean going down the American route, we can learn a lot from our European neighbours who provide healthcare free at the point of use and do it better than us because they incorporate more private firms.
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    If they privatised the NHS, I would be the first in line for the IPO on the London Stock Exchange.
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    (Original post by Eagle_eye_angela)
    If they privatised the NHS, I would be the first in line for the IPO on the London Stock Exchange.
    I would be too, but read what I wrote. That isn't the type of privatisation I'm advocating.
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    (Original post by Sycatonne23)
    I would be too, but read what I wrote. That isn't the type of privatisation I'm advocating.
    The Pharma sector is privatised enough to the point of good competition, so like you said there is little waste. It also means there is no real monopoly in the market for drugs out of patent. I like where the pharma sector is right now.

    You are right, I would like to see the NHS in a place where there is more competition for jobs to improve efficiency. So government run, but they outsource most contracts to private companies.
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    So what are you suggesting? That individuals pay for their own care? I can not see how private companies can run things cheaper than the state when on top of their costs is profit to pay investors. It didn't work on the railways, water or energy markets. The only place it has worked is in telecoms but only because of consumer choice.

    I agree privatisation isn't a dirty word but I don't see how private business is either cheaper or more efficient.
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    I would keep the current system but make foreigners pay for treatment after all it is called National Health Service
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    (Original post by ByEeek)
    So what are you suggesting? That individuals pay for their own care? I can not see how private companies can run things cheaper than the state when on top of their costs is profit to pay investors. It didn't work on the railways, water or energy markets. The only place it has worked is in telecoms but only because of consumer choice.

    I agree privatisation isn't a dirty word but I don't see how private business is either cheaper or more efficient.
    No, I'm suggesting we outsource more NHS operations to the private sector. This model works in other countries so I don't see why it can't work in the UK.
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    (Original post by Stoptherot)
    I would keep the current system but make foreigners pay for treatment after all it is called National Health Service
    I'd agree that non British citizens should pay for non-emergency NHS care but that would barely make a dent in the overall NHS budget. Foreigners using the NHS isn't really the problem.
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    (Original post by Eagle_eye_angela)
    The Pharma sector is privatised enough to the point of good competition, so like you said there is little waste. It also means there is no real monopoly in the market for drugs out of patent. I like where the pharma sector is right now.

    You are right, I would like to see the NHS in a place where there is more competition for jobs to improve efficiency. So government run, but they outsource most contracts to private companies.
    Precisely, government funded, privately provided.
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    (Original post by Sycatonne23)
    Precisely, government funded, privately provided.
    A lot of government structures are like this. For example TFL. TFL get a big pot of money from the government and they outsource to contractors to build stations and manage them.

    A good couple of companies I can think of are Interserve, which do facilities management for TFL and Carillion, which do infrastructure.
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    (Original post by Sycatonne23)
    Hold on, before you respond with furious consternation and disbelief, hear me out. Opponents of healthcare reform in this country always point to the United States as the only other alternative to healthcare provision which is highly dishonest. When I say "privatise", I don't mean sell off the NHS on the stock market to private investors and force people to buy absurdly expensive health insurance. What I mean is that we should make greater use of the private sector within the NHS itself. Let's be honest, the current model of healthcare in the UK isn't sustainable for all sorts of reasons from an ageing demographic to greater prevalence of health issues related to lifestyle choices (we Brits exercise less than we ever have and shove more processed junk food down our throats than ever before). Despite consistent increases in the NHS budget since 2010, we always see reports of A&E departments overrun and our waiting times in comparison to the waiting times of other healthcare systems put us to shame.

    Contrary to popular opinion, there is a third way when it comes to healthcare provision. In fact, few other developed countries in the world have copied the UK's NHS model whereby the government has a near total monopoly over healthcare provision. Critics of this government treat privatisation as a dirty word as if it can't bring anything positive to the table but those criticisms are flawed for two reasons. Firstly, the NHS is hardly being privatised. Under 10% of the NHS budget is dedicated to private providers, meaning more than 90% of the NHS is run by the government. Secondly, the notion that private involvement in healthcare is an evil sin is rejected by the systems which countries like Germany, Switzerland or France have in place. In those countries, the government collects taxes to pay for healthcare, but a mixture of private companies, charities and NGOs and the government provide the healthcare. The resulting competition leads to an efficiency and quality of patient care which we couldn't imagine in the UK.

    The OECD, World Health Organisation and Euro health consumer index always rank the UK in the bottom third when it comes to healthcare. Our waiting times are longer, our cancer survival rates are worse, we have less hospital beds and doctors per patient. On every significant metric relating to patient outcomes, the NHS is outperformed by these single-payer or social health insurance systems. Simply throwing more money at an already very expensive part of government won't necessarily translate into healthcare improvements. For example, within the G7 Italy spent the least per person on healthcare but had the second highest life expectancy. The NHS has very deep structural problems. It is an outdated system designed 70 years ago in an era where healthcare was the luxury of the rich and where private health infrastructure didn't exist to serve the masses. The world has since changed.

    "Privatisation" doesn't have to mean going down the American route, we can learn a lot from our European neighbours who provide healthcare free at the point of use and do it better than us because they incorporate more private firms.
    The public sector is horrendously inefficient, because of red tape bureaucracy and health and safety which costs more lives from time spent filling forms.
    However we need to be careful not to be overcharged as new Labour's pfi deals which we are still paying off loans from.
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    (Original post by Sycatonne23)
    I'd agree that non British citizens should pay for non-emergency NHS care but that would barely make a dent in the overall NHS budget. Foreigners using the NHS isn't really the problem.
    funding per capita has gone down due to the mass influx of immigrants and not increasing the budget. If they have British Citizenship then yes they can use it for free, but if they are attempting to use it for health tourism- then we should make them pay or refuse to treat them.
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    (Original post by Sycatonne23)
    No, I'm suggesting we outsource more NHS operations to the private sector. This model works in other countries so I don't see why it can't work in the UK.
    I'm not convinced. Having worked in companies that outsource functions, it is a nightmare because even though everyone is in the same office you get petite jobs-man-ship battles arising and an us and them culture. The concern in the NHS is that you outsource all the easy bits like cataract operations and hip replacements and all the knotty hard stuff is left to the NHS which is now much weaker because all the routine stuff has been removed.

    The only reason to privatise in my opinion is if it would be cheaper and I can see no evidence of that being the case. If you want a European type service, we need to pay European levels of money for our NHS, which we don't.
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    The "competition" argument is complete nonsense when applied to health care. It's not like shopping where you can choose which supermarkets you buy your groceries from. With health care people are pretty much stuck with whatever they are given locally. You can't really shop around. Captive market I think the phrase is.
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    (Original post by RF_PineMarten)
    The "competition" argument is complete nonsense when applied to health care. It's not like shopping where you can choose which supermarkets you buy your groceries from. With health care people are pretty much stuck with whatever they are given locally. You can't really shop around. Captive market I think the phrase is.
    Not really. I've lived both rurally and in inner London: in London, it's pretty obvious that you could make enormous choices around treatment and care. One hospital or medical centre isn't really much closer than the wide variety of others.

    Rurally, it might be suggested it would be different. But even then, my experience was that while even my closest hospital was fairly distant, again there were still others relatively nearby - and indeed, you were often referred to others for specialised treatment. Meanwhile there were plenty of GP surgeries - which are obviously already private - with a variety of different working models (some were essentially outposts of others etc).

    I largely travel for dental treatment because I have a particularly good - if quite expensive - one that I've been using for years. But people could well have choice. The only real captive market is for A&E services.

    The majority of contact with the NHS services is already through private contractors anyway: GPs, pharmacists, opticians and dentists. Many people I know already do go out of their way to somewhere less local that they prefer (although of course, with GPs that sometimes requires a bit of rule-bending).
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    (Original post by ByEeek)
    I'm not convinced. Having worked in companies that outsource functions, it is a nightmare because even though everyone is in the same office you get petite jobs-man-ship battles arising and an us and them culture. The concern in the NHS is that you outsource all the easy bits like cataract operations and hip replacements and all the knotty hard stuff is left to the NHS which is now much weaker because all the routine stuff has been removed.

    The only reason to privatise in my opinion is if it would be cheaper and I can see no evidence of that being the case. If you want a European type service, we need to pay European levels of money for our NHS, which we don't.
    You should be convinced by the fact that most other developed countries in the world don't use our model of healthcare. One of the reasons why European countries spend slightly more per capita on healthcare is of course because the government doesn't fund health services fully (although they do foot the vast majority of the bill). In both France and Germany, over a fifth of funding for healthcare comes from private contributions through things like health savings accounts. In the UK we don't have the same level of accessibility for people who can afford to make private contributions to their own healthcare to do so. I'm not saying we should eliminate government provision of healthcare entirely but we could benefit immensely from increased private sector involvement and so far other healthcare systems that do so suggest that this is the case.
 
 
 
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