NHS or private sector? That is a common question asked by healthcare professionals when looking for a new job opportunity. There is no right or wrong answer to this question, just one that suits your situation and requirements better. Here we have put together the following information to help understand the differences between private and NHS work, as well as some of the benefits for both options.

What is the NHS?

The National Health Service (NHS) is the publicly funded healthcare system in the UK. They provide a wide range of healthcare services, including treatments, preventative care, and emergency services. The service has been around for over 75 years and aims to provide healthcare that is free at point of delivery, based on need rather than having the ability to pay. NHS see around 1.3 million people a day, whilst intending to care for and protect the nation’s health. Their six long-term aims can be outlined as:

  1. Longer healthy life expectancy
  2. Excellent quality, safety and outcomes
  3. Excellent access and experience
  4. Equity of healthy life expectancy, quality, safety, outcomes, access, and experience
  5. Value for taxpayer’s money
  6. Support to society, the economy and environment.

Benefits of working in the NHS

Training and professional development: The NHS is known for investing in its employees personal and professional development. They give opportunities to their staff to attend and take part in a vast array of training courses to help build and refresh their skillset.

Social impact:  Working in the NHS provides a sense of purpose as it gives you the opportunity to make an impactful difference to the community.

Stability and job security: The NHS is the largest employer in the UK, providing stable employment opportunities even during economic downturns.

About the private sector

A private healthcare provider operates independently of the NHS and is funded primarily through private payments, insurance or out-of-pocket expenses. There are approximately 90 private healthcare providers across the UK, employing around 600,000 people.

Benefits of working in the private sector

Facilities and technology: Private healthcare facilities often have higher funding. They are usually equipped with the newest medical technology and maintained to high standards. This allows healthcare professionals to work with advanced equipment and provide their patients with the most up-to-date care.

Autonomy and Control: Professionals working in the private sector often have more autonomy in decision-making and treatment plans, allowing for a more tailored approach to patient care.

Opportunities for entrepreneurship and specialisation: Working in the private healthcare sector may lead to opportunities for entrepreneurial ventures, such as setting up a private practice or clinic further down the line. It may also give the option to specialise in a more niche area.

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