UK Independent Medicine - Explosion or Implosion?

Wednesday 10th November 2004
at the Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists, Regent’s Park, London

Summary

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

Tom Mann's PresentationThe 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.

Tom Mann's PresentationPatient 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.

Tom Mann's PresentationA politician's response
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

Tom Mann's PresentationPrivate 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.

Tom Mann's PresentationConsultants – 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.

Tom Mann's PresentationWorking with 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

Tom Mann's PresentationWhat 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.

Tom Mann's PresentationDifferentiating on quality
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.

Tom Mann's PresentationWhat 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.


[ Original Programme ]

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