Right, let’s get some things clear.
The NHS, for all its failings, is consistently shown to be the developed world’s most cost-effective healthcare system.
That does not mean that it cannot be improved. I personally now have a whole list of ways in which the A&E and plastic surgery departments of St Thomas’ Hospital could be much better, as I am sure do most of its patients. I will, sooner or later (probably when I’m back to typing with two hands), rehearse these to you and to them; but the changes I suggest should be tested before they are introduced and considered from a much wider perspective than mine alone.
None of my suggestions involves contracting out services (naturally, they’re mostly about transparency) but were anyone to make a suggestion that did, let it be openly tested against proper evidence. I’ve got nothing against health privatisation, if it turns out to produce better, cheaper, fairer results for all . That is, it improves the quality of health outcomes in the UK regardless of the patient’s means. Reducing the cost of any intervention, without affecting the quality of the outcome is the same thing. The trouble is, there is no evidence that it can do so. Its champions must show that it does, not just claim that it does in theory; and the way to do so is to conduct trials and to look at the historical and international comparators. Evidence, Evidence, Evidence.