Health care refers to the acts of diagnosis, treatment and prevention of diseases, injury and other mental and physical impairments in individuals. Healthcare is mainly performed by practitioners in medicine, dentistry, nursing and other care providers. Health care in the UK is mainly provided by the National Health Service. It mainly provides free healthcare to all the permanent residents of the UK. It isn’t free as such because the UK residents pay for the healthcare services indirectly through taxation.
Private healthcare is also present in the UK although public healthcare is the one which dominates. The NHS provides primary care, long-term health care and in-patient care among others. The private healthcare in the UK only serves 8% of the population. It is also mainly paid through private insurance. The private health care therefore complements the work of the NHS.
There also are some instances where the two health care providers work together. There are some cases in where the NHS has subcontracted the services of private healthcare. The levels of health care that are provided in the UK are primary and secondary care. Primary care is provided by independent contractors such as pharmacists. Secondary care on the other hand only occurs in the NHS owned facilities or hospitals.
The NHS has two trusts; commissioning and provider trusts. The hospitals in the UK are funded by the NHS. The criterion used in this case is the complexity of the care provider. Hospitals that provide specialized and complex care usually get more funds.
The success of the NHS can be partly attributed to its constitution which outlines its objectives and guiding principles. The constitution also contains the rights of the patients and practitioners. A patient can get advice from a general practitioner on which hospital to visit, whether a private or public one. The patient will be liable to pay the hospital fees if he/she decides to go to a private hospital. The fact that private hospitals are costly makes most people in the UK opt to go and be treated in the NHS hospitals for free.
The hospitals usually operate a booking system. The doctor can arrange for an emergency admission if the case is judged by a general practitioner to be very urgent. Patients can either be out-patients or in patient and the later involves overnight stay. The trend in the operations of the hospital is the introduction of just in time workflow derived from the manufacturing sector. This has led to some hospitals being efficient and fast when dealing with the patients.
It is the patient’s discretion to decide whether to be treated for free by a NHS hospital or to be a private fee paying patient. This can only occur if there is some sought of arrangement between the patient and the consultant and the insurance company is usually billed in this case. Furthermore, the NHS also does voluntary work. It has Palliative care specialist nurses who provide end of life palliative care. Macmillan Cancer Support and Sue Ryder Care are some of the organizations which provide palliative care and are under the umbrella of NHS.
The private sector healthcare in England has also contributed to good healthcare in England. It mainly provides lesser sets of treatment. Most private hospitals in the UK are business enterprises while others are non-profit making trusts. They usually work closely with the insurance companies. Private healthcare can also be funded by employers through the medical insurance schemes.
Home care which is healthcare provided in the patients home has also developed to a great extent in the UK. It is mainly done by licensed healthcare professionals known as caregivers. They mainly assist the patient to bathe, prepare meals, clean the home and also provide rehabilitative assistance to patients recovering from illness or surgery.
In the UK, the United Kingdom Home care association is the organization with the sole mandate of dealing with home healthcare. It regulates the actions of the various home care agencies in the UK. Healthcare in the UK has therefore provided many employment opportunities.
Written By: Rose O’Halloran