Welcome to The Healthcare Industry Barometer 2009.
In 2008, Nabarro and HealthInvestor together launched this annual survey against the background of the recently published Darzi NHS Next Stage Review, the introduction of the “Patient Choice” agenda, the proposal to introduce a new Co-operation and Competition Panel and a deteriorating economic outlook. Given all this, a large proportion of respondents to the 2008 survey were confident of greater private sector participation in the NHS.
A year later, we live in a very different world, with the UK and other economies suffering greatly. A recent report by the NHS Confederation has warned that the NHS is going to be hard hit, with the worst coming in 2011 when it estimates a budget shortfall of £8-10 billion. The chief executive for the health service in England, David Nicholson, has warned that closing the gap could translate into a need for efficiency savings of up to £15 billion in the three years after 2011.
Such a financial outlook is inevitably going to result in sweeping changes in the NHS and also the way it operates.
Events have moved on in a number of other ways. The Co-operation and Competition Panel has been established. It seeks to level the playing field between bidders for NHS work and has the potential to place a spotlight on procurement expertise in the NHS. The Department of Health published its Commercial Operating Model setting out proposals to close the NHS Purchasing and Supply Agency and introduce regional Commercial Support Units, offering commercial and procurement expertise to the local NHS and acting as a single point of contact in each region for independent, third and voluntary sector healthcare providers. There have also been further attempts to introduce more commercial know-how and expertise into the NHS with, for example, the introduction in February 2009 of the NHS Transactions Manual.
In addition, we have the impending 2010 general election and the inevitable heated political debates as to how to provide and who should fund quality healthcare services in the UK and who is best placed to provide such services.
This year we have again quizzed over 100 independent sector healthcare players on some key issues facing the UK healthcare sector. In some cases, we have asked the same question as last year, enabling us to track views in certain areas. In others, we have asked new questions, reflecting the changing circumstances we find ourselves in. Once again, we hope you find this survey of interest.
Finally, we at Nabarro, wish to thank HealthInvestor for their hard work in collating the survey and to express our indebtedness to all the participants for their time and insight.
Partner, Nabarro LLP