By Ellie Broughton
The Government has begun a major publicity campaign to make the case for their controversial NHS reforms and to convince the public that the NHS needs more ‘diversity’ in providers of healthcare.
The campaign – which has been launched as part of the ‘listening exercise’ promised on the NHS reforms – includes public information leaflets, events and a website for the public the ‘have their say’.
The leaflet suggests that the NHS perform better if it has more competition between providers of healthcare, including private companies.
‘This diversity gives people more choice over where they get treated, it introduces a wider range of expertise into the health service, and the competition it generates incentivises all providers to offer the best service to patients.
‘That’s why we are committed to going further in opening up the NHS to qualified providers. We will do this carefully, in ways that will strengthen not undermine the NHS. As long as new providers can meet NHS standards of care and safety – as well as NHS costs – patients should be able to choose to be treated by them.’
It emphasises the difference in staffing levels since the coalition Government came to power – 2,500 more doctors and 3,000 less managers – and quotes the British Society Attitudes Survey that ‘95% of people want more choice over their healthcare’.
Speaking at an event this week, former RCGP chief Professor Steve Field – who will head up the Government’s consultation exercise – said: ‘Listening to people on the ground is vital, and I see this as a real chance for people to have their say in shaping the future of the NHS.’
The Department of Health’s leaflet to launch its new consultation on health reforms. ‘Working together for a stronger future’ Leaflet