The UK has just faced one of its hardest healthcare challenges in history. The Coronavirus pandemic tested every corner of healthcare, from the NHS to private healthcare in the UK, and the financial, structural, and societal changes leftover from the pandemic will ripple for years to come.
The cost to the NHS has been immense and as a result waiting lists for many treatments remain long and many services have been cut creating staff shortages and huge holes in healthcare provisions. With so many now looking forward for solutions to these gaps, it is often good to look back and examine the history of healthcare in the UK so we can see how to take the good from the past into the future..
Private to Public Healthcare in the UK
The UK has a public healthcare system, the National Health Service (NHS). This system, founded in 1948, proceeded a private care system, with free care only available at a few charity-led or teaching general practices and hospitals. It was then Prime Minister Lloyd George’s National Insurance Act of 1911 which started the ball rolling to the formation of the NHS, but this system only enabled employed, tax-paying, individuals access to care.
It was the health financial equaliser WW2 that changed UK healthcare, creating a desire for a system based on care requirement, rather than financial background whilst also speeding up medical advancements as a result of the effects of a world war.
Post-war, by 1949, the NHS, funded by the UK taxation system, created a countrywide healthcare provision based on clinical requirement to meet the needs of everyone. At the beginning, the NHS was split into three main centralised arms, with primary care (GPs), secondary care (hospital) care and community care services falling under the NHS.
In the 1960s this was reorganised to allow local authorities the ability to control their own healthcare system, and by 1978, with Margaret Thatcher’s NHS reforms after the 1972 Cochrane report, this was further developed into local authority Trusts to organise healthcare. The 1980’s and 1990’s developed a marketplace for care, with local doctors competing for NHS funding and bidding for patients.
In 1998, following the formation of the National Institute of Clinical Excellence, NICE, the NHS plan (formalised in 2001), National Service Frameworks and Department of Health was formed which further increased NHS provision.
UK Healthcare: What Has Changed?
Since 2000 the NHS has expanded and is now funded by societal taxation. However, the needs and requirements and demands of the NHS now far exceed that of its financial input. With this, there has been a rise of private insurance and private access to medical services care, with the likes of Bupa, Aviva, AQA and many other notable insurance companies rising to the healthcare opportunities.
Quality of care in the NHS is regulated by the Quality Care Commission, with all healthcare private and public providers striving to meet optimum quality of care. In 2011, with NHS England’s publication of the “Five Year Forward View” and 2017, with the “Next steps on the Five Year Forward View,” came further reforms and it was the 2019 NHS “Long Term Plan” that brought in further changes.
What is Next for Healthcare in the UK?
The UK government's most recent healthcare decisions have focused on an integrated health system (ICS’s). The British Medical Journal writes: “evidence suggests that integrated care may improve patient satisfaction, access to services, and perceived quality of care, but evidence of effect on resource use and health outcomes is limited and potential benefits may be modest and take time to be realised.”
The huge scale of challenges currently facing public health systems and providers such as the NHS is staggering. Staff shortages, procedure backlog and health inequalities remain hugely problematic and with second and third waves of the virus emerging and the fallibility of the vaccine uncertain and the NHS failing to keep up with rapid technological advancement breaking worldwide barriers, much innovation is needed.
The pandemic has made society more aware of health and wellbeing, and personalised medical plans are becoming more common as part of an employee employer contract. Patients are using technology and the more autonomous and transparent window to healthcare this has created, to demand a more individualised healthcare.
GlobMed’s Healthcare Offering to the UK
GlobMed provides tailored healthcare solutions to deliver the highest quality care for clients, on-demand. We fill the holes the NHS currently has neither the facilities nor budget to cater for, taking pressure off the UK NHS services and giving individuals the best access to care available worldwide, with GlobMed facilitating and managing healthcare wherever it is done best.
From cosmetic surgery to fertility treatments and from dental to orthopaedics, we focus on the ideal health solutions for each person, on a client-by-client basis, opening a safe and accessible world of choices under the safety and supervision of the GlobMed network.
Medical expertise is best found globally and we therefore utilise existing healthcare capacity in one country and match it with unmet demand for healthcare in another.
We strive towards a future in which every client can access the best quality care whenever they need. From local-based assessments, test, and pre-op procedures all the way through travel, finance, coordination, and aftercare.
GlobMed seeks to create and improve the global standard of healthcare and its provision, as the future of global healthcare.