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NHS set for 'airline style' transformation

UK health care may soon be transformed by the introduction of new providers, just as low-cost airlines Ryanair and Easyjet have radically changed European air travel in recent years, suggests an article in this week's BMJ.

Several new private providers have recently been awarded contracts to provide healthcare services for the NHS. Most of the work will be in general surgery and in areas with the longest waiting lists, such as orthopaedics and ophthalmology. As a result, NHS organisations will compete with private providers to attract patients, writes Penelope Dash, an independent advisor in health care.

These new providers are introducing new ways of working, resulting in faster throughput and lower costs. As such, the NHS and existing private providers are having to re-examine how they provide care.

If successful, this initiative may even expand to include diagnostics, primary care, and chronic diseases, such as asthma, diabetes, or heart disease.

The Government's recent attempts to open up the UK healthcare market to new providers look set to continue, says the author.

Will it work? Only time will tell. But if the airline business is anything to go by, things will certainly be different, and the cosy duopoly of the NHS and mainstream private providers will be a thing of the past, she concludes.


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Contact: Emma Dickinson
edickinson@bmj.com
020-7383-6529
BMJ-British Medical Journal
5-Feb-2004


Page: 1

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