UK Independent Medicine - Explosion or Implosion?
Wednesday 10th November 2004
at the Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists, Regent’s Park, London
The main themes of the meeting were looking at the demographic changes in healthcare, the sustainability of funding both NHS and private, the views of politicians and Think Tanks and new working relationships for consultants.
In addition there was a session devoted to regulation and quality assurance in the private sector.
The programme comprised the following:
Session One - Healthcare – NHS or privatised but who will pay?
Chaired by Brian Clarke, CEO of St Anthony’s Hospital Cheam
demographic healthcare time bomb
Julian Stainton, CEO of WPA
Julian Stainton, CEO of WPA, presented a detailed analysis of predicted demographic changes, reviewing ageing, obesity and technical advances amongst others which clearly demonstrates that NHS funding by government will barely manage to sustain current services let alone allow for increasing demand.
Choice - a red herring?
Dr Jennifer Dixon, Policy Director at The King's Fund
Dr Jennifer Dixon, Policy Director at The King's Fund, offered an overview of the Government’s funding policy of the NHS in recent years and analysed the costs and benefits in terms of acute and chronic healthcare reviewing King's Fund evidence for some of the anticipated changes.
Andrew Lansley MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Health
Andrew Lansley MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Health, gave a non-partisan political analysis of funding, placing Patient Choice high on the agenda and noting the increased need for quality and also the desire on all sides, particularly politicians and the Treasury, to reduce complications and risks.
Session Two- What future Private Practice?
Chaired by Matthew Young, Policy Director, The Adam Smith Institute
insurance – can it be sustained?
Mike Hall, CEO of Standard Life Healthcare
Opening the second session Mike Hall, CEO of Standard Life Healthcare, stated that, in essence, private healthcare was sustainable and that with some degree of co-payment and tailored policies private healthcare would survive and continue to thrive.
– sink or swim?
Derek Machin, Chairman of the BMA Private Practice Committee
Derek Machin, Chairman of the BMA Private Practice Committee, described the impact of the consultant contract on the potential for consultants to work in private practice noting also rising expenses for consultants all of which would change the market opportunities for UK trained consultants.
Richard Jones, Commercial Director of BUPA Insurance Hospitals
Richard Jones, Commercial Director of BUPA Insurance Hospitals, analysed the BUPA Insurance response to the Government changes in healthcare provision and the arrival of ISTCs and contracted work. Whilst BUPA Insurance was committed to its private funded customers, there is also an opportunity to generate additional volumes through NHS contracts. However, if independent hospitals are to compete in the new mixed economy it requires more cooperative working with consultants and healthcare funders.
Session Three - Quality assurance in the private sector – is it really better?
Chaired by Geoffrey Glazer, Chairman of FIPO
the regulator wants
Mark Avery, Head of Independent Healthcare at the Healthcare Commission
Mark Avery, Head of Independent Healthcare at the Healthcare Commission, reviewed the changing policies of the Healthcare Commission. To date this has largely been detailed and regulatory and, whilst there were still many smaller clinics requiring inspection, the philosophy was changing with more self-assessments, unannounced reviews and convergence with the NHS.
Andrew Vallance-Owen, Group Medical Director BUPA Insurance
Andrew Vallance-Owen, Group Medical Director BUPA Insurance, described BUPA Insurance's moves to quality assurance with the encouragement of best practice through networking of certain specialities and conditions such as breast and colorectal cancer, and gave a review of the SF36 analysis of over 100,000 BUPA Insurance patients; he argued that this type of analysis would become increasingly important in differentiating the sector from the NHS.
should the independent sector do?
Rosemary Hittinger, Group Director of Clinical Governance HCA International
Rosemary Hittinger, Group Director of Clinical Governance HCA International, gave a detailed review of the HCA audit and governance programme pointing out there were two planks to this, namely adequate MAC control on consultant performance and detailed audits with external benchmarking and internal reviews.