With the NHS in turmoil in recent years, many politicians have tried various schemes to improve the situation of our healthcare. But is the answer privatisation? writes Emily Shaw.The deal to privatise Hinchingbrooke hospital in Cambridgeshire could be the answer that all politicians have been looking for.The 10 year, £1bn deal to hand the management of Hinchingbrooke hospital over to the private company Circle is one that is a first in the history of the National Health Service. The hospital currently has over £40m worth of debt, which Circle is hoping to pay off by increasing the hospital’s efficiency. This deal demonstrates the first revolutionary change in the shake-up of the NHS system that has been in place since 1948.Hinchingbrooke will still come under the title of an NHS hospital, yet it will be franchised out to Circle in what is practically a national health experiment. With a group of around 20 hospitals being in severe financial difficulty, MPs believe that this may be a solution to their problems, if the scheme works. Yet, of course, there are some sceptics who believe that this could lead to a complete privatisation of the NHS and would therefore defeat its primary aim – to provide quality healthcare to all when it is needed. A fear that it could lead to a completely privatised system in the future as seen in the USA is certainly an opinion that cannot be ignored.But with the NHS in a dire financial situation and many hospitals deemed to be unsafe and unviable, perhaps this radical experiment will work. The NHS and the public do however, have a say in the future of Hitchingbrooke. As part of the deal, Circle must maintain all services, and any major changes to the hospital must be agreed buy the public and the NHS.The hospital aims to operate under a John Lewis-style of employment. Although wages will still be paid at the NHS rate, it is hoped that by giving all employees a say in the happenings of the hospital they will be more motivated to achieve and exceed targets. Whether or not this model can be adapted from the retail environment and transferred into a healthcare one remains to be seen.Regardless of opinions, the eyes of the public, the NHS and politicians will all be on Hitchingbrooke hospital in the coming decade, to see if Circle can improve the state of the hospital and to see whether the private franchise mechanism is a scheme that can be employed in more of the country’s failing healthcare institutions. Indeed, the future of the NHS will remain unclear until statistics can alter the situation.Emily Shaw is an IB student at Dartford Grammar SchoolWhat do you think? Comment below or Become a Contributor and have your own articles published
read more: Will Privatisation Save Our NHS?