Different health and care providers have different advantages and disadvantages. Which is most suitable in which situation?There are many forms of health and care provider.
The best known in UK is the public-sector owned - NHS hospitals, NHS community services. Traditionally there have also been professional partnerships - smaller providers owned by health and care providers, such as GP practices, Pharmacists, Dentists, Opticians. And of course commercial providers have got in on the act - pharmacies in chain stores, nationwide opticians, private hospitals.
Less well known are the charity and not-for-profit providers, such as BUPA/Shire Healthcare. The current policy is to disband public-sector ownership in favour of contestability (competition). It is risky to transfer £hundreds of millions worth of assets into private hands, and many health care staff refuse to work in a profit environment, so the social enterprise was invented - a commercial entity where any operating surplus has to be put back into the community in support of their charitable aims, and all of the assets are maintained under an asset lock (ie they cannot be transferred for profit).
But there are many different forms of Social Enterprise; some may be ideal in different environments.
In the child pages of this section, we've explored a few of these