On Monday, April 1, the NHS in England will undergo the biggest reform in its history. Here's how will it affect you, and the way the NHS is run.
- From Monday, the NHS in England will become a giant marketplace. It means private companies will be able to go head-to-head with the NHS to compete for business. This happens already, but the new system takes it to an entirely new level.
WHAT DIFFERENCE WILL I SEE?
- If, for example, you go to your GP and are told you need to go for a scan, instead of just being given a couple of options your GP can choose from a list which offers much more choice. This is a big change, because it turns the NHS into a market of competing health service providers.
WON'T MY GP JUST PICK THE CHEAPEST OPTION?
- The list is based on quality, not price. GPs will take over the running of buying care with a huge budget of up to £100 billion. They're given that money by a new, independent NHS Commissioning Board who will check up on the way it's being spent.
WHAT HAPPENS IF A COMPANY GOES BUST WHEN I'M DUE TREATMENT?
- A 'failure regime' will protect you, which allows a new health regulator to intervene to ensure a continuity of service.
WILL THE CHANGES SAVE MONEY?
- The health budget has been protected. But it still faces rising costs and is subject to an efficiency drive. GPs controlling budgets mean NHS managers can be axed. Competition will also help control prices for treatment.