Intended for healthcare professionals


Private health care: modernisation stops here

BMJ 2000; 320 doi: (Published 22 January 2000) Cite this as: BMJ 2000;320:202

The government has missed an opportunity to regulate—and interate—the private sector properly

  1. Justin Keen, fellow in health systems
  1. King's Fund, London W1M 0AN

    The Care Standards Bill,1 which has recently started its passage through parliament, provides the British government with an opportunity to address problems that have become apparent in the delivery of private health care in the United Kingdom. Many of these problems were clearly set out in a recent House of Commons Health Committee report on the regulation of private health care2 and include the difficulties that patients face in determining the quality and value for money of private care and the lack of coordination between the NHS and private providers. Underlying these problems is the failure of unregulated healthcare markets to protect patients' interests or deliver efficient and equitable health care to a nation. The private healthcare sector in the United Kingdom is now substantial and not effectively regulated, so government action should be welcome.

    The bill could also allow the government to show its modernising credentials …

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