“A grown up discussion about the fairest, safest and most efficient healthcare model possible for Britain’s future health” is at the core of the recommendations set out by Radix Big Tent in its latest paper looking at improving healthcare.
The paper argues that Individuals, government and communities must share responsibility for keeping us healthy, providing better outcomes when we fall sick, and ensuring that need rather than funding determines the care we each receive. It says that this will require:
- Empowering individuals to make their own choices about their lives and treatments and co-designing services.
- Fair charges for those who have not paid into the system.
- Better, rather than reduced, NHS management, through a focus on training and recruitment, and devolving power to local organisations and health providers.
Based on discussions held with sector leaders, health experts and policy makers over the past year, the paper calls for the integration of health and social care following the recommendations of Andrew Dilnot, which are now over a decade old. It recommends a far greater role for local government in improving their local community’s health and incentivising healthier behaviours by individuals and communities.
The paper says that “We need to challenge the mythology of the NHS, that it is free at the point of delivery, or that the only alternative is a disastrous American non-system.” Specific ideas to generating more funding for the NHS:
- Reviewing the criterion for eligibility for free care, as well as the level of charge, for some visitors to the UK and those returning to the UK specifically for treatment.
- Reconnecting national insurance contributions to paying for the NHS including considering increasing NI contributions for higher rate taxpayers.
- Introducing a levy on non-charitable private health providers.
- Introducing a system of online bookings for consultations and treatment slots, with the most popular times subject to a fee.
The paper suggests a Royal Commission is the safest space for such discussions, with Radix Big Tent Chief Executive, Ben Rich, says:
“It is widely understood that the NHS is in collapse: broken not just by the pandemic, but by over-centralisation and the ever-growing costs of acute treatment. Our leaders must have the courage to discuss honestly the challenges we face without resorting to a political slanging match. It is a refusal to engage and a determination to misrepresent our opponents, rather the plans of ‘the other’, that will destroy the NHS if we don’t engage now.”