I’ve just written a new post for the Cost of Living blog which publishes short pieces on the politics, economics and sociology of health and health care. My post is on the NHS’s attempts to push us into using digital platforms which I suggest is part of “platform capitalism” as Nick Srnicek has characterized it. I suggest that in the process it is enabling a back door privatisation.
In October 2018 the NHS Digital App was launched amidst claims it will be the “digital NHS ‘front door’” to a range of services. Similar to apps such as “Push Doctor” and “GP at hand” it will provide advice, a symptom checker and telephone and video consultations with medical professionals. No doubt some people will find this is a more convenient entry point for care services but it also opens up new possibilities for backdoor privatisation. For example, companies like Babylon Health see this as an opportunity to deploy the Uber model of service delivery into healthcare. If all our NHS interactions happen through them they can make commissions and get access to valuable data by mediating our interactions with services.