A survey by Pharmacy Voice shows how people define ‘public’ and ‘private’ in the context of health service provision. The results come on the same day the BMA’s Special Representative Meeting considers whether to oppose government plans to extend ‘any willing provider’ delivery of NHS services.
The survey showed
Pharmacy Voice chairman, Ian Facer, said:
“Pharmacy Voice represents a group of providers who are both private and public in nature. The Department of Health has described community pharmacies as an ‘integral part of the NHS family’. Pharmacies are independent contractors to the NHS, and the vast majority of their work is for the NHS. We are not dissimilar to general practice in this way, however more people perceive pharmacists to be private providers than they do GPs. Meanwhile, Foundation Trusts undertake private activity, and it is likely some FTs earn a higher percentage of private income than most pharmacies. Yet many more people regard their local hospital as a public body.
Our survey shows that is not straightforward to demarcate the boundaries between public and private provision. We believe that pharmacies display the best characteristics of both sectors.
NHS reforms must be designed and implemented in such a way as to encourage diverse provision, yet to a consistently high standard and within a framework of patient-focused cooperation.”