By Law all healthcare services are provided under licence. Any organisation can apply for a licence to provide these services. Criteria for receiving a licence include being registered with the Care Quality Commission CQC (the Offsted of the medical world); and pass the ‘fit & proper test’. To be ‘fit and proper’ seems to be about financial capacity and not medical capacity. Check out the licensing criteria here.
The datadictionary.nhs.uk website defines a Health Care Provider as:
…an organisation acting as a direct provider of health care services…. a legal entity, or a sub-set of a legal entity, which may provide health care under NHS Service Agreements, it may operate one or more sites within and outside hospitals.
It also lists various organisations which may act as healthcare providers and these include: GP Practice, NHS Trust, NHS Foundation Trust, Registered non-NHS Provider (Independent providers), Unregistered non-NHS Provider, Care Trust, Local Authorities with social care responsibilities, and other.
Lets take a closer look at these various types of organisation.
GP Practice is rather self explanatory. GP’s provide General Practice medicine services.
An NHS Trust is an organisation set up by the Secretary of State under the National Health Service Act 2006. These organisations provide hospital services, community services and/or other aspects of Patent Care including transport.
These differ from NHS Foundation Trusts by being non-profit and for the benefit of the public. They were also set up under the NHS Act 2006 to follow core principles of free care, based on need and not ability to pay, and include ambulance services and mental health. For more information about NHS Foundation Trusts click here.
Independent Providers are private sector Health Care Providers. That is not private hospital treatment, but it is the sub contracting of NHS provisions to private providers. This means that private firms get paid NHS funds to provide healthcare to nhs patients.
There is no information about unregistered non-NHS Provider, but the very title is worrying. How can an unregistered private organisation be able to get a license. Not that it is clear with whom these organisations are registered!
Care Trusts are much more local care based. These organisations were formed in 2002 and were created to co-ordinate and link with different services within a locale such as social care, mental health and community services.
Penultimately on the list are Local Authorities which mean of course means local government be that at county or district levels.
The last type is listed under other which gives no indication as to what kind of organisation this might be.
If you want to know more about how the NHS is being privatised through Foundation Trusts check out the blog Wide Shut. Thank you for reading. Please share with your friends – we are on the verge of losing the very heart of what makes the NHS an enviable organisation around the world and every voice on this issue is critical if we’re going to save it.