I am a big fan of the NHS, in more ways than one.
As an organisation, they are my employer and I find them utterly wonderful to work for. It could just be the department I’m in but I’ve never been able to fault them. I get a good wage, ample annual leave a year and I’ve always been able to take the time I need to continuing my studies – even though they’re only vaguely related to the role I do.
As a health service provider – like any there are flaws in the system but when you consider the vast magnitude of services they provide combined with the ever lessening numbers in the work force.. it’s pretty damn amazing. I’m privileged to have them in my life. Free healthcare for all – hard to argue with that, even though some are trying to… and of course it’s people who probably don’t even use their services. But that’s not what I’m about, I’m not going to get political if I can.
I am a full supporter of our NHS and a member of Keep Our NHS Public. I will defend it to my dying breath. Yes it has its faults. Yes there are issues with some of the services. It’s not a perfect system but it’s the best damn one we’ve got and I do NOT agree with it’s privatisation. Healthcare, as Aneurin Bevan stated in 1948 should ‘be based on clinical need, not ability to pay’.
It sickens me that there are countries where people will be turned away from necessary medical treatment because they cannot pay. Basic healthcare should be a right!
The National Health Service is the largest and the oldest single-payer healthcare system in the world. Primarily funded through the general taxation system and overseen by the Department of Health, the system provides healthcare to every legal resident in the United Kingdom, with most services free at the point of use. Some services, such as emergency treatment and treatment of infectious diseases are free for everyone, including visitors.
Free healthcare at the point of use comes from the core principles at the founding of the National Health Service by the United Kingdom Labour government in 1948. In practice, “free at the point of use” normally means that anyone legitimately fully registered with the system including UK citizens and legal immigrants, can access the full breadth of critical and non-critical medical care without any out-of-pocket payment. Some specific NHS services do however require a financial contribution from the patient, for example eye tests, dental care, prescriptions, and aspects of long-term care. However, these charges are often free to vulnerable or low income groups, and when not free, often lower than equivalent services provided by a private health care provider.
The NHS provides the majority of healthcare in England, including primary care, in-patient care, long-term healthcare, ophthalmology, and dentistry. The National Health Service Act 1946 came into effect on 5 July 1948. Private health care has continued parallel to the NHS, paid for largely by private insurance: it is used by about 8% of the population, generally as an add-on to NHS services.
I am firmly against the threat of privatisation of the NHS. For more than 60 years Britain has enjoyed a National Health Service that strives to be comprehensive, accessible and high value for money. But government reforms threaten both the way in which the NHS cares for people and the values it is founded on.
The threat is based on the creation of a market for profit-driven companies that answer to shareholders, not patients. This makes hospitals and health professionals, who have traditionally cooperated, compete with each other and with the private sector. The private sector is in competition with the NHS and is already breaking it apart.
If this continues:
•Income and profits will increasingly come before what is best for the patient.
•Inequalities in healthcare will get worse. Profitable services and those who can afford to pay for them will attract money at the expense of unprofitable ones.
•Forced competition will stop the NHS working as a network which shares resources and information.
•There will be winners and losers, with some units and even entire hospitals having to close. We are already seeing job losses and bed closures.
•Even more of our money allocated to health will be diverted to shareholders and company profits, and wasted on the costs of establishing and running a market. Which was not voted for, or agreed by the British public.
There is no evidence that these reforms will improve the health service.
The value of our NHS is immense and cannot be mirrored by the private sector. It must be kept in public hands, not given in pieces to the private healthcare industry.