National Health Service of Great Britain started the process of reforming in July 2000. It started to gain momentum: during the last seven years, its budget has doubled, and the average cost per capita has increased from 680 to 1,345 pounds (‘Target costing in the NHS: Reforming the NHS from within’ 2005 pp. 1-5). Additional funds allowed providing public health services and helped to offer quick and convenient access to the services of private doctors, ambulance, surgery and treatment.
Improvements were also made possible by a steady increase in the number of personnel of the National Health Service. In addition, these professionals have the right to work separately or together, to be owners of surgical or therapy clinics, and hire staff, including other doctors (Currie 2009 pp. 267-284).
The next stage of the development of healthcare in the UK is to ensure that the movement towards responsible, convenient and personalized services occurs throughout the qualitative service and respect to all the patients. Nowadays, after referring to provided information, patients can choose themselves where, how and when they will be treated. Since late 2005, patients gained the right to choose amount at least four or five hospitals. Since 2008, patients can choose any standards-compliant vendor within the limits of the maximum state rates, paid out by the NHS to needy patients (Gosling 2009 pp. 101-106; Lee 2010 pp. 58-69).
One of the most effective innovations is the dependence of payment system on the choice of patients. The higher they evaluate health services, the greater are the investments of the government (Dredge 2008 pp. 375-381). At the same time, first aid funds provide further incentives for private practitioners and their teams in order to ensure the quality of treatment.
Investments and reforms initiated in July 2000, have already reached the patients, and that’s why the system of queues of patients waiting for treatment in hospitals has now changed a lot. In 1997, patients were waiting for treatment up to 18 months – after visiting a private doctor, for advice and diagnosis. Now, the maximum waiting time for surgery makes about 9 months, and 17 weeks – for an appointment, while 18 month is now the maximum term for the whole period of course treatment (Gosling 2009 pp. 101-106).
Besides, the NHS plans to focus on improving services for people with incurable diseases. The Department of Health has adopted the draft of the project aiming to minimize the impact of diseases on people’s lives and ensure that each person get an individual treatment of high quality. Nurses and doctors who specialize in treating such diseases will visit patients themselves, thereby reducing the number of emergency calls and visits to hospitals (Amin 2010 pp. 25-28).
Expert Patient Programme, designed to enable patients to manage their own treatment, will reach the state level. It will help more people to monitor their treatment, observing their health status with the professional support of health workers (Williams 2010 213-214).
Currently, the National Health Service has the opportunity to reorganize itself from the service of disease treatment in the service of health. In collaboration with other organizations and individuals, it will help people choose healthier lifestyles and teach disease prevention, which is the most perspective approach in modern conditions.