NHS should look to Alaska for model of reform, conference is told

BMJ 2015; 351 doi: (Published 23 November 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;351:h6303
  1. Nigel Hawkes
  1. 1London

Could the model for reform of the NHS lie in distant Alaska? That may sound improbable, but Ben Collins, of the King’s Fund health charity, made a persuasive case at the fund’s annual conference on November 19.

Collins is the author of a new study1 of the Southcentral Foundation’s Nuka system of care run by Alaska Native people, which has evolved in the past 20 years into an international exemplar of the approach backed in NHS England’s Five Year Forward View2: holistic care delivered by a tax based system that combines high quality, universal clinician and public approval, and affordable costs.

In the mid-1990s the healthcare system in Alaska looked rather like the NHS today, Collins said. Controlled from afar by a division of the US Department of Health and Human Services, it had long waiting times, …

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