Nurses for Reform (NFR) is a growing pan-European network of nurses dedicated to consumer-led reform of British, European and other healthcare systems around the world.
NFR believes it is no longer acceptable for nurses to sign up to careers in public sector healthcare only to find they are unable to access the resources and autonomy they need to do their work. NFR rejects bland egalitarianism in favour of competition. And it believes in people - not politics.
In Britain, NFR believes that the government should re-cast the NHS as simply a funder of last resort alongside an insurance and self-funder based market. It believes that the state should set free – through a range of full blown for and not-for-profit privatisations – all NHS hospitals and healthcare provision. Moreover, NFR believes that all hospitals in Europe should be allowed to openly compete with each other. If a hospital fails in the market it should either close or be taken over by a more successful organisation.
Significantly, NFR believes that all hospitals - as independent entities - should be allowed to pick and choose from a dynamic, fluid and demonopolised labour market. The totally counter-productive idea of nationalised pay agreements must be abandoned forthwith.
Significantly, NFR also believes in the many benefits of commercial free speech. Nurses, doctors, hospital managers and other healthcare providers should be allowed to openly advertise their wares and in so doing pro-actively inform consumers of where the best deals can be found.
As front line practitioners, nurses know only too well that we have to find new and better ways of organising, delivering and funding healthcare. In an age of fast moving consumerism, people are no longer prepared to tolerate unresponsive, inefficient and blandly uniform services. People want quality and they want to be in control. They want to be empowered with information and they want to be able to access healthcare brands with reputations that they can trust.
Today, too many nursing trade unions and so-called representative bodies fail nurses because they invariably stick to old and out dated agendas. Instead of championing substantive reform - and in doing so, championing the rights of consumers as well as they people they represent - they default to short term platitudes such as demanding more tax payers’ money or new forms of legislative favour. Such an approach is not only disastrous for nurses but it is catastrophic for patients.
In 1948, the British government promised: “The NHS will provide all medical, dental and nursing care. Everyone - rich or poor – can use it”. In many other European countries politicians have subsequently made similar pronouncements. Yet, sixty years on from the end of the Second World War, Europe is a very different place and increasing numbers of people recognise the limitations of what the state can and should offer.
NFR believes in fundamental change and in telling the truth. It believes that only by putting patients and consumers interests’ first will healthcare improve.
It is only when healthcare is opened up to real consumers and trusted and diverse brands that nurses will find themselves working in a sustainable environment with the resources and support to deliver responsive, popular and truly high quality services.
For NFR America does not represent a free market healthcare system. It too has a highly planned, regulated and government funded system that takes - through state programs such as Medicaid and Medicare – a historically greater proportion of GDP than our own NHS.
Headquartered in London, NFR is directed by Dr. Helen Evans. A senior nurse with nearly twenty years experience in the National Health Service, her career has seen her work in some of Britain’s leading hospitals including the Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS Trust, the Royal London Hospitals NHS Trust and at St.
Bartholomew’s Hospital. She trained at Whipps Cross Hospital in London’s East End and holds a degree in Health Management from Anglia Ruskin University. In 2006 she was awarded her Ph.D in Health Economics from Brunel University. As well as being the Director of NFR she is also a Health Fellow at the Adam Smith Institute.