Health Care Marketing Plan

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Health Care Marketing Plan

Health Care Marketing Plan

Introduction to the UK Health Care Market

The National Health Service (NHS) was established on 5th July 1948, with a remit to provide healthcare for all citizens, based on need, rather than the ability to pay.1 Treatment is effectively free at the point of care as the taxpayer funds the NHS. Overall policy issues are set by the Department of Health, which has the responsibility to provide health services to the general public (through the NHS). Since its inception, the NHS has continually evolved, with changes in the services it provides and the manner in which those services are delivered. With the publication of the NHS Plan in 2000, the NHS environment changed to one that would open the doors for healthcare marketing on a larger scale than had previously been seen in the UK.

Essentially, independent providers are being encouraged to bid for contracts to supply services on behalf of the NHS. The NHS itself can bid too, with units able to compete against each other and the private sector for the right to supply healthcare using taxpayers' money. Where more than one provider is contracted, they may choose to compete against each other in the delivery of the services, in order to increase patient throughput and therefore, profits. Marketing is therefore, a skill that healthcare providers will need to hone. The risk for the NHS in the progression from healthcare provision to marketing that healthcare provision is the control of the natural passion that marketers and 'owners' typically exhibit for their business (Beckjord & Finney, 2007, pp.225-275).

Over the past ten years, UK healthcare providers have been consistently accused of manipulating data in order to demonstrate their achievement of government targets, implying that healthcare managers are not immune to the pressures of having to deliver business results. There is therefore, a very real risk that, when marketing services in order to achieve business results, a different set of standards might be applied to those that are used in the delivery of healthcare itself.

In healthcare, marketing is widely used to increase awareness and adoption of healthcare services for patients. Many physicians, dentists and other providers use marketing strategies to attract patients to their practices, and pharmaceutical companies spend billions of dollars annually in direct-to-consumer advertising, carefully crafting their marketing campaigns to increase sales of their medicines. Hospitals use marketing to inform patients about the availability of services and direct patients to practitioners credentialed at their institution. Marketing can assist in meeting business goals of healthcare organizations applying the four 'P's to healthcare marketing. The way in which each of these elements is represented within the UK healthcare market is evolving rapidly (Coreil & Bryant, 2001, pp.131-141).

4 Ps in Health Care Marketing


This might refer to a consultation, an operation, the hospital food or the entire stay. It might be the diagnosis or a treatment. Equally it could be a service, such as a cholesterol check or sexual health ...
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