What’s happening to our NHS?

Ever since it began 65 years ago the NHS has provided nearly all the healthcare that patients need. It employs and trains a skilled workforce and organises a comprehensive range of health services and treatments. We have got used to this, but over the last few years a dramatic change has occurred. Now almost all of the clinical work that the NHS provides has been opened up to the for-profit sector and they have begun to take over the caring of many NHS patients. At present the NHS is still the dominant provider and for the most part care is still free of charges. But the private sector is quickly expanding its role, energised by the passing of the Health and Social Care Act early in 2012.   In areas of many care, the NHS is having to compete for patients and funding, in a new market-focussed health service,

Take a trip to your family doctor, many now work for companies like Virgin and Care UK.  Your GP may send you for tests carried out by companies like In-health, who run imaging and pathology. Your GP may refer you to a hospital for surgery - perhaps performed in one of the privately run treatment centres. When you return home you could be cared for by one of the queue of companies who are now taking over the running of community health services right across the country. The reach and influence of the private sector over our healthcare is growing fast.

See how the opportunities for profit-led companies have changed.

In 1989 the private firms had a relatively minor role in clinical based NHS care, but after the market approach was introduced and recently expanded, the opportunites for the private sector have greatly increased.                                                                               

       2013                                                                      1989


GP surgeries                                                       Mental health services
GP Our-of-Hours services                                    Small element of pathology and surgery
Walk in centres
Urgent care and minor injury units
Diagnostic services
(including pathology and imaging)
Maternity care
Advice about which services are commissioned
Decisions about patients are prioritised
Non-emergency surgery
(including treatment centres)
Run a whole hospitals, including A&E
Community nursing
Up to forty other community services
(including podiatry, diabetes and physiotherapy)
Ambulance services
Prison health
Mental health services


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