Healthcare in London accounts for a fifth of England’s NHS budget and often acts as a barometer for national care. Demonstrating the limitations of the market model within the NHS is an acknowledged example.
Other London NHS initiatives have led change, such as centralising acute stroke, or heart attack units. There is also significant input from the private medical sector.
London is a world leader in private medical care, with research and practice able to influence the state sector. The growth of same day care and resultant reduction in hospital beds developed this way.
Both sectors benefit from improved knowledge and facilities, as does patient choice. NHS patients at times use private clinics and 40% of private UK revenue is in the capital, with a 15% share of the national population.
Wealth demographics apart, the international appeal of London plays a part, along with a number of clinics offering specialised care.
Dermatology At The Forefront
At any given time, 25% to 30% of London’s population have a skin condition which could benefit from medical care. They book over 2 million GP appointments related to this need throughout the year.
Of all specialities, dermatology is as popular in the private sector. To a degree for natural reasons, although there are practical causes.
GPs try to help and may be knowledgeable but the reality is they often receive no more than a week’s dermatological training during undergraduate and postgraduate studies. There is also a shortage of consultant dermatologists within the NHS.
Compared to other specialities which might deal with less than 100 varying conditions, dermatologists deal with over 1000 and with increased prevalence of key conditions. The rise of skin cancer a notable contributor.
The combination of factors may seem a perfect storm, yet the NHS manage to do a remarkable job. There are still possibilities of misdiagnosis, delayed, or inconvenient appointments, or delayed treatment.
Along with choice of specialist, those are the reasons people choose private dermatology care. As they also can across a variety of disciplines, in a private medical sector which is essential and well regulated in the UK.
A Balanced Environment
The demise of the NHS is perhaps shouted too loud, London has good NHS facilities. Providing they look forward and grasp the opportunities technology offers, they can continue to serve the population well.
Neither are private and NHS care firewalled, they are complementary and can be interchangeable for patients. Even so, trends we have seen in recent years are likely to continue.
Self pay medical treatment has increased by 80% in a decade. Whilst medical insurance holding has plateaued, future legislation to encourage employer provision is likely. Benefits apart, this reduces the NHS burden.
Central government has a role to play in developing both sectors, as does local oversight from the Greater London Authority. Both see the value in the private sector.
The NHS is by nature large scale, has budget constraints and less than flexible IT strategies. Whereas the private sector can focus on the level of amenity, appointment availability and high level consultant access patients want.
They can also bring new technology to bear much quicker, such as the confocal microscopy in our dermatology clinics. Ultimately, this aids healthcare development for the entire London population and offers people an immediate choice.
London healthcare, not least in dermatology, sits well in international data on patient outcome, the most important point. If you would like to know more on the way clinics like ours contribute, by all means get in touch with our friendly staff.