Responding to the publication of the Government’s White Paper on NHS reform, David Hare, Chief Executive of the Independent Healthcare Providers Network (IHPN), said:
“With today’s NHS performance figures showing record long waits with almost 225,000 people waiting over one year for vital NHS treatment, these proposals for NHS reform must be judged not only on whether they ensure that patients receive integrated, joined up care, but also that they ensure that patients have quick access to diagnosis and treatment.
“Since March 2020, independent sector providers have treated millions of NHS patients, including 2.5 million patients under the unprecedented contract whereby all independent hospital capacity was put at the disposal of the NHS in response to covid19. It is clear that independent healthcare providers will continue to be vital in supporting the NHS over the coming years by improving access and efficiency in NHS care.
“We are therefore pleased to see a recognition in today’s White Paper that patients will be able to choose from a wide range of healthcare providers so long as they meet NHS standards. We want to see this sit alongside models of integrated care which bring the best of public, voluntary, and independent sector providers together to deliver great care to NHS patients and to avoid what the former Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt described as ‘cosy local monopolies’.
“We will look closely at proposals for a new provider selection regime where patients and taxpayers alike will want assurances that the NHS will have access to the best and most innovative services regardless of who provides them, and that poorly performing services will be challenged to improve, including through the option of alternative provision.”