Partially sighted: how private healthcare works with the NHS

First published in Health Service Journal, 8 November 2001

The private sector is sometimes seen as a zombie, mortally wounded in the NHS’s founding – yet reanimated by the unholy forces of Tory and New Labour governments.

But according to a book published by the King’s Fund*, past political efforts to kill off the private sector have only fuelled its strength. Now, authors Justin Keen, Donald Light and Nicholas Mays say the government needs to put aside the ideological debate about healthcare funding and face up to the reality of private healthcare, by making it subject to the same standards that rule the NHS.
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Take aim at NHS targets

First published in Health Service Journal, 14 June 2001

Just as the Conservatives loved markets, Labour loves targets. So when chancellor Gordon Brown eventually loosened the Treasury’s purse strings, what came out had strings attached.

Through public service agreements, spending departments are tied to the Treasury, with contracts detailing what they have to deliver, how their success or failure will be measured and what sanctions will result. This use of performance targets has spread throughout the public sector.
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