Critics of the new scheme have argued that the new move will take us another step closer to a privatised NHS, but Health Secretary Andrew Lansley believes that the schemes launch in April will mark a new beginning for all of the patients who will be able to choose the care they would like to receive from providers who meet NHS official standards.
Providers who wish to offer services are likely to be a mixture of private companies, voluntary organisations and charities as well as the NHS.
The scheme is starting by opening up competition for eight NHS areas including adult hearing services in the community, talking therapies for adults and wheelchair services for children.
Despite concerns that the move could lead to privatisation of the NHS, Mr Lansley is insistent that it is a good choice for patients and is ultimately about trying to ensure that individuals have more choice over their care.
He commented: “Let’s look at what this is really about: it’s about children getting wheelchairs more quickly.
“It’s about people with mental health conditions choosing to receive their care somewhere closer to home.
“It’s about older people being able to choose a service that will come to their home – perhaps the vital difference between staying at home or having to move into care.”
Director of external relations at the mental health charity Mind has said that they too are in favour of extending the choice and availability of psychological therapies.
“We would hope that this enables people to have access to treatment in a provider near to their home or workplace and in a manner or by a therapist of their choosing.”
View the original Independent article.