UK Health Reforms Impact on Pharma Industry
Although the NHS may not be viewed in the best light by a great number of people, it is as it’s heart dedicated to improving patient care, while battling the problems of soaring costs, increased demand placed upon it by our longevity and fierce criticism from a great deal of channels. The success of the NHS of course has a great impact on the pharma industry, and so at Pharma IQ we ensure we keep up to date with the trends and developments within the National Health Service.
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Cutting costs and improving care seem like contradictory goals, so what reforms can be embraced to ensure the success of both aims?
The Health and Social Care Bill in 2011 was proposed to give more responsibility to GP led groups, reducing layers and bureaucracy and supporting all trusts to become foundation trusts and establishing independent regulation. GPs would therefore be allowed to make decisions about which services to provide, based on their knowledge of the local patients. This was termed as the government creating a “more patient centric NHS”, something a number of doctors had been fighting for a number of years.
This approach seems to make sense, giving power to the GPs who have the best knowledge about their particular groups of patients, however there were concerns that it could lead to fragmentation and unnecessary duplication and hence negative patient outcomes.
These concerns could be somewhat placated by investment in technology. If all GPs had access to the electronic health records of their patients, these problems would be eradicated. This not only avoids wasting patient’s time and shortening diagnosis times, but also reduces unnecessary costs to the system.
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Even with the problems that exist within the NHS, when compared to other similar services, the UK seems to fair quite well. For example it is now believed that Canada’s health system ranks bottom in the world, based on the time it takes for patients to get treatment, and the quality of care they receive. Changes proposed in Canada focus on the delivery of primary care services, that being GPs and family physicians, asking them to form primary health teams which would be better placed to provide more comprehensive care and a more coordinated service.
Similarly, in Australia there is also a trend towards making smaller more localised groups accountable for healthcare. It is proposed that 4 hospitals should group together into trusts, which would have responsibility for their region. It is hoped that their specialised knowledge of the areas would result in more appropriate and better treatment. It is also being considered that GPs and other care providers should be included, to ensure a more detailed picture of the situation is attained. It would of course be essential to avoid for these groups to be composed with great care, preferably being depoliticised, and avoiding deeply vested and conflicting interests.
It seems that all three systems, the UK, Canada and Australia are all heading towards providing care for local populations through groups led by local GPs. Sign up to PharmaIQ and download our many whitepapers and webinars featuring in-depth pharma analysis to see if these endeavours have helped to improve patient care.