In January 2019 the Government published its ten-year long-term plan for the NHS. Although many of the ideas it contains were broadly welcomed, experts on the NHS, including NHS management, think-tanks and unions, were quick to point out the plan's lack of detail and that none of the plan will be possible unless the current workforce and funding crisis are solved.
The plan's main focus is on the introduction of integrated care across England, with integrated care systems (ICS) expected to be in place across England by 2021.
To enable integrated care, NHS England is calling upon the government to amend the 2012 Health and Social Care Act to make it easier for NHS organisations to work together and to move away from compulsory contract tendering and competition between organisations.
Although, this is a positive move, it will still not remove the involvement of the private sector in the NHS. There is nothing in the plan that says the large contracts for integrated care cannot be awarded to a private provider. And even if the large contracts are not run by the private sector, there is plenty of scope for private sector involvement in sub-contracting.
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