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Let the public shape the NHS

15th October 2008

David Allen from Manchester University says let the patient shape the NHS.

It is time politicians stopped telling the public what sort of health service they should receive.

The NHS costs £110bn a year to run, some £2,000 for every person in the country, bringing our spend on health to a level commensurate with other European countries, though that has not been matched with a similar increase in output or health outcomes.

With the NHS - a “black hole of public expenditure” - gobbling up money at that rate, it is a question of how long the current organisation will be able to continue.

The NHS currently suffers from unpredictable side effects from targets. While they may have achieved improvements, they also prove that centralised decision making does not effectively provide a responsive service to “meet the health needs of a large heterogeneous population in such a complicated and challenging organisation as the NHS.”

As a politically controlled state monopoly, the NHS is "inefficient, outdated and unsustainable".

Politicians will want to be involved while it is still tax funded but their role should be reduced with a shift toward patients determining what is provided.

And if primary care trusts were allowed to compete for patients, there would be incentives to use resources more effectively and provide services that more meet the needs of patients.

PCTs could be regulated in a way that would avoid cherry-picking and cross organisations services, but with patients choosing which PCT provides their services, local accountability could be ensured.

 

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