The NHS has been a source of national pride for Brits for 70 years. However, our service has come under a lot of strain recently.
A combination of lack of funding, a growing elderly population and a rise in erroneous practices has led many to lose trust in the NHS.
Since its inception in 1948 the NHS service has provided millions of Brits from all walks of life with healthcare and treatment that would cost substantially more in any other circumstances.
So, it is in our best interests to take a look at exactly what our island’s healthcare system is facing.
To many, the concept of nationwide healthcare may seem as integral to Britain’s infrastructure as public transport and the price of PG Tips – yet some MPs still oppose initiatives to increase its funding.
Philip Hammond’s recent opposition to a new ring-fencing tax has left many, including the vast majority of the cabinet, baffled. A textbook example of “the guy who always has a different opinion to everyone else in the group project” Hammond argues against the hypothecation (relegating of funds from one tax for one purpose) of tax revenue for the NHS, claiming that it would result in declining spending on the service during recession. Although seen as backward by many his argument does hold some weight.
Brown’s ring fencing on National Insurance ultimately backfired as the money that was reserved exclusively for the service was spent across the Board, undermining the whole “one tax, one fund principle…”
I mean, how many times have you said you would save up some money and get that car you always wanted and instead spent payday at the pub or at that restaurant you know you can’t afford? Polling has shown that the public wants more funding for the NHS but would like to actually see it go to the NHS!
Where you live effects how willing the NHS is to cover costs of healthcare. Which? stated that “people can be 25 times more likely to get their costs covered depending on where they live” and it found that the South Reading Clinical Commission paid for only 8.78 patients per 50,000 while Salford funded 220.38.
One unlucky woman was even graced with a £96,000-a-year bill after the needs of her mother with dementia were reviewed.
On a lighter note, member of the Royal College of Nursing can now formally accept or reject a new NHS pay deal which endeavours to improve salaries across the board.
Nurses at the top of their pay bands will receive a rise of 6.5% while others will receive rises of between 9% and 29% depending on their pay. Though progress is slow and there is still a long way to go there is no denying that we are certainly aware of the issues in our healthcare system and are trying to fix them, one way or another.
No organisation is free of failure and the NHS Is certainly no exception. Doctors of questionable finesse have operated on the wrong body parts, mixed up organs and left surgical instruments inside patients.
The largest number of these occurrences were recorded at Guys & St Thomas hospital where a staggering 437 so-called “never events” were logged between last March and April. However, to blame these blunders solely on medical incompetence would simply be unfair. Dr Dodds, former clinical director of the Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre, stresses that facilities and staffing levels are lacking behind new technology that is keeping patients alive for longer.
He states that “the major difference in cancer care over the last 10 to 15 years has been a move from a condition that used to be regarded as terminal to one which can be controllable for a large period of time”. With more patients who need to be cared for, doctors are struggling to cope, which in turn is causing an increase in erroneous practice; new treatments are great for patients but less so for staff.
Ultimately, our NHS still has its work cut out for it and there is still much progress to be made in the way in which healthcare is administered to the millions of Brits who need it. Erroneous practice is still an occurrence, the issue of funding is still glossed over in Parliament and strict quotas are causing patients to be denied coverage based on where they live.
However much we chose to ignore it the National Health Service is struggling to support the British population and for many private healthcare isn’t an option. With no confident long-term solution on the horizon perhaps we need to start focusing on the services which keep US going as well as the economy.