By BMJ, [RxPG] The NHS should have an independent regulator like other public utilities in the UK, argues a senior doctor in this weeks BMJ. Many public utilities have independent regulators to see that commercial interests and unfair pricing do not disadvantage the public.
At present the UK does not have an independent regulator of healthcare reform, yet the consequences of ill judged reform of the NHS may inflict long term damage to the delivery of health care to its citizens, says Ian Kunkler, a consultant at the Western General Hospital in Edinburgh.
He believes that the shortcomings of the private finance initiative are persuasive arguments for an independent regulator, and suggests that key tests might include equity of access to care; collaboration between healthcare professionals, managers, and patients, and financial prudency and transparency.
If these golden rules were met, the UK government would be more likely to carry the support of the public and NHS professionals to meet the healthcare challenges of the 21st century, he concludes.