Market forces are the best way to successfully integrate health and social care, says new IEA report

15 May 2019 04:22 PM

IEA report encourages more competition in health & social care systems

Competition and markets should be introduced into the UK’s health and social care systems to find the best ways of integrating the two sectors, according to a new report from the Institute of Economic Affairs.

A ‘National Care Service’ is not the solution to providing better health care overall in the UK. The health sector is largely centrally planned and delivered, while the social care sector is split across a mixed economy of charities, families, local and central government, and profit- and non-profit making groups. Bringing the two together under one centrally planned service would be unprecedented in the Western world.

Author of the report, Professor Philip Booth argues that the only way to facilitate better outcomes in terms of patient care and efficiency, is within a system that allows more competition in healthcare provision with different organisations integrating health and social care according to the preferences of their customers and clients.

The development of technology can and should lead to further integration of health and social care. However, our centrally planned health system is a barrier to any meaningful integration. At a time when more and more conditions can be assessed, monitored and treated using apps, remote monitoring, treatment and care outside hospital settings, the differentiation between health, nursing and social care is becoming much less clear.

The way in which the UK’s health system is run has not really changed over the past 50 years, despite the drastic technological advancement we have seen in that time. The basics of diagnosing a medical condition still start with a 10 minute, in-person consultation with a GP.

Health, nursing and social care