New choices for NHS patients should make insurers think

Surprisingly for most of us who already though that the NHS was our service, Health secretary Andrew Lansley has set out his vision for an NHS that is truly on the side of patients. One wonders whose side they are on now?

Despite originally declaring that he was going to do away with the targets set by previous governments, to save huge amounts on management time, he launched no less than 62 new measures that an army of administrators will have to check in every NHS hospital.

The NHS will be measured against a number of areas including whether a patient’s treatment was successful, whether they were looked after well by NHS staff and whether they recovered quickly after treatment.

Some new measures will need careful consideration by private medical and health cash insurers to see if cover should or could be amended or enhanced, including:

  • Patients will be able to see on a new user-friendly map which local services will be available to them through ‘Any Qualified Provider’ from April 2012. From hearing services to wheelchair providers, patients across the country will have a choice of who looks after them in at least three areas of clinical care
  • To give patients more information about GP practices, a new user-friendly map will make it much easier for patients to identify the best GP practice for them
  • Millions of people with long term conditions like asthma, diabetes, depression and heart disease will now be able to see which surgeries have significant experience of treating patients like them. They will also be able to see the number of patients registered at a practice and their breakdown by age and gender as well as, for the first time, to what extent different GP practices offer patients choice of their first hospital appointment.

The aim is to give patients genuine options over their care, to give patients the tools they need to decide with their doctors the right way forward, and to ensure decisions are only taken by doctors, nurses and patients together.

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New choices for NHS patients should make insurers think
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