Magazine article Public Finance

Patient Choice 'Might Cause Hospitals to Close'

Magazine article Public Finance

Patient Choice 'Might Cause Hospitals to Close'

Article excerpt

Patient choice and payment by results might not deliver the service the public wants and could fundamentally damage the founding principles of the NHS, the Royal College of Nursing warned last week.

At its annual congress in Harrogate, RCN delegates heard that the choice outlined by politicians might not match the public s expectations.

'Patients are saying to us that they would like to have a clean hospital. They would like some say in their care. And they would like the care close by. The question is: who is defining choice and is the patient really having the opportunity to define the service they want?' RCN general secretary Beverly Malone asked the conference.

She added that choice, combined with the payment by results system, which governs the flow of funds around the NHS, could cause hospital departments or even whole hospitals to close if patients chose other units. …

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