How would you save the NHS?

January 25, 2007

The NHS needs to learn from organisations like the John Lewis Partnership that show what can be achieved when employees see that their actions benefit themselves, the organisation they work for, and customers, says Professor Chris Ham in this week's BMJ.

This is just one of several responses to the question: what would you do to save the NHS?

The chaos currently engulfing the NHS is due entirely to its "marketisation," argues Allyson Pollock, Head of the Centre for International Public Health Policy at the University of Edinburgh.

She believes that what is needed to save the NHS is "a total abolition of the market and market mechanisms like payment by results, foundation trusts, and commissioning within healthcare, and the abolition of all contracts with private providers, including the compulsory repurchase of PFI hospitals."

But Jennifer Dixon, Director of Policy at the King's Fund backs current health policy as "going in the right general direction." She believes that the principle of introducing new incentives to try and improve performance is the right one. However, she admits that there are "teething problems" in other areas of the health services that need "modification or amelioration."

Peter Carter, General Secretary at the Royal College of Nursing calls for an end to short term cuts and the development of a long term recovery plan. He also urges ministers to safeguard education and training budgets and improve nursing recruitment and retention levels. "We need to stop treating our NHS workers like overheads to be cut and start treating them like assets to be valued," he says.

A US view comes from Donald Berwick at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement in Massachusetts. He chooses not to dwell on the sense of distress and demoralisation that is circulating through the NHS at the moment, preferring to focus instead on the "tremendous amount of progress" that has been made in the eight years he has been watching the modernisation of the UK's health services. He calls for better collaborative patient management but, in the long run, he is very optimistic about the NHS being a star among international health services.

Finally, Steven Ford, a GP in Northumberland argues that the NHS never has been and can never be a business. He would like to see "wholesale localisation" introduced throughout the NHS. "A coherent, locally responsive service, answerable to users directly is preferable to a national business failure with a demoralised workforce," he says. "Let diversity flourish and to hell with the market."


Related Healthcare Articles from Brightsurf:

How to protect healthcare workers from COVID-19
Researchers are developing simple and inexpensive tools--like a DIY ventilator--to treat patients more effectively and prevent disease transmission in hospitals.

Healthcare as a climate solution
Although the link may not be obvious, healthcare and climate change -- two issues that pose major challenges around the world -- are in fact more connected than society may realize.

Healthcare's earthquake: Lessons from COVID-19
Leaders and clinician researchers from Beth Israel Lahey Health propose using complexity science to identify strategies that healthcare organizations can use to respond better to the ongoing pandemic and to anticipate future challenges to healthcare delivery.

Poor women in Bangladesh reluctant to use healthcare
A study, published in PLOS ONE, found that the women living in Dhaka slums were reluctant to use institutionalised maternal health care for fear of having to make undocumented payments, unfamiliar institutional processes, lack of social and family support, matters of honour and shame, a culture of silence and inadequate spousal communication on health issues.

Women and men executives have differing perceptions of healthcare workplaces according to a survey report in the Journal of Healthcare Management
Healthcare organizations that can attract and retain talented women executives have the advantage over their peers, finds a special report in the September/October issue of the Journal of Healthcare Management, an official publication of the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE).

Greater financial integration generally not associated with better healthcare quality
New findings from a Dartmouth-led study, published in the August issue of Health Affairs, show that larger, more integrated healthcare systems do not generally deliver better quality care, and that there is significant variation in quality scores across hospitals and physician practices, regardless of whether they are independent or owned by larger systems.

Wearable sensor may help to assess stress in healthcare workers
A wearable biosensor may help monitor stress experienced by healthcare professionals, according to a study published in Physiological Reports.

Healthcare innovators focus on 'quality as a business strategy' -- update from Journal of Healthcare Quality
Despite two decades of effort -- targeting care processes, outcomes, and most recently the value of care - progress has been slow in closing the gap between quality and cost in the US healthcare system.

How runaway healthcare costs are a threat to older adults and what to do about it
Empowering Medicare to directly negotiate drug prices, accelerating the adoption of value-based care, using philanthropy as a catalyst for reform and expanding senior-specific models of care are among recommendations for reducing healthcare costs published in a new special report and supplement to the Winter 2019-20 edition of Generations, the journal of the American Society of Aging (ASA).

How can healthcare achieve real technology driven transformation?
Real transformation in healthcare through the adoption of artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, telecommunications, and other advanced technologies could provide significant improvements in healthcare quality, productivity, and access.

Read More: Healthcare News and Healthcare Current Events is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to