"There was extensive agreement within our survey regarding increased private sector involvement within the provision of healthcare services. This may come as a surprise to some.
However, it is important to remember that we didn’t survey senior healthcare management on whether it was a good or bad idea; simply on whether or not it was going to happen.
It’s an important distinction. The man-on-the-street debate about the relative merits of this development will continue unchecked for some time yet.
However, all parties would be well advised to take note of the views of our survey respondents – who are people very well placed to predict how the future for healthcare will actually develop.
Only eight percent of our survey respondents do not see foresee a move away from universal tax-funded healthcare provision. That’s because there is a major and unavoidable demographic issue at play here.
Typical dependency rates of 4:1 (four citizens of working age for every child and senior citizen) will continue to shrink in the immediate future. If, for example, that ratio moved closer to 2:1, then the ability to fund comprehensive healthcare provision solely from tax revenues is hugely compromised.
Most Western countries – with healthcare models predicated on post-war thinking – recognise the need for change so that healthcare is funded by a mix of taxation, insurance and personal provision.
When we suggested that there would be an upswing in M&A activity across the sector in response to growing economic pressures, the surprise here was that more people didn’t strongly agree.
Many healthcare organisations across the region are simply too small to be economically viable. This can leave them unable to support expensive fixed costs such as intensive care or operating theatres.
In turn, this makes consolidation – to achieve greater economies of scale – a near certainty. I therefore would have expected this to come across with far more conviction in the respondents’ answers."
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